Rusch elected to head GV Student Senate committee


GVL / Sydney Lim

Josh Alburtus, Staff Writer

Amidst efforts to tackle multiple student-related issues, Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate seated its newest Vice President of Campus Affairs, a position critical to addressing such issues.

Running for the position against fellow Senator Taegan Byers, current Vice President Aaron Rusch claimed electoral victory last Thursday, Nov. 4. Transitioning from his former role on the Senate’s Educational Affairs Committee, Rusch will take on a Campus Affairs Committee of only two current members. In his speech of candidacy to the Senate, Rusch said he is committed to the work of the Senate and supporting the efforts of fellow senators.

“I don’t only want to be a backbone and support for my committee, but I want to be a backbone and support for the entire general body,” Rusch said. “I want to help every single one of you guys here in this room succeed with leaving, ultimately, your legacy here at this university, effecting the change you’d like.”

According to the committee’s mandate outlined on the Senate’s webpage, Rusch will head the committee that is responsible for communicating student campus issues to the Senate and administration and getting the needs of students achieved.

Rusch will serve as one of the central members of Senate leadership involved in its ongoing attempts to navigate student concerns over Campus Dining. These concerns were reiterated on Thursday during public comment.

“I am once again calling for Student Senate to take any course of action,” said GVSU senior Alex Hicks. “The University Food Committee is not enough.”

GVL / Sydney Lim

Another issue is the Senate’s consideration of how to continue offering opportunities to students to help them reach success after they depart from GVSU.  Coinciding with Rusch’s election, Student Senate also heard from GVSU Career Center representatives Susan Proctor and Lisa Knapp. Proctor and Knapp discussed what the Career Center offers to students and the outcomes of GVSU students after graduation.

“When a student comes to our door or when we’re out meeting with students, we try to, instead, show them our resources and share with them the way they can discover and kind of unlock what the right job title is for them or what the next best step (is),” Knapp said.

Referencing a yearly survey done by the Career Center, Proctor outlined for the Senate data regarding former students’ paths after graduation. With 67% of 2019-20 GVSU graduates being employed full-time and 15% of them continuing to higher education, Rusch’s Campus Affairs Committee will need to work with leadership, university administration and the Senate at large in order to sustain a campus atmosphere that aids in post-graduation student success.

“I think supporting the institutions, the departments and institutions already on Grand Valley’s campus, is a key role,” Rusch said. 

Despite what could continue to be a prolonged effort in reaching a solution regarding Campus Dining and other issues in the future, Rusch said he has a strong conviction surrounding the responsibilities of his new role and what his efforts going forward.

“I don’t believe there’s any value in doing something if you can’t do it to the absolute best of your abilities,” Rusch said.  “I hold that true to everything I do from projects to schoolwork to stuff I do here on Senate.”