Student Senate seeks to improve culture, student relationships in upcoming year


Alexander Verheek, Staff Writer

As Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate looks toward the upcoming 2022-23 school year, its newly elected cabinet aims to increase its outreach and cooperation with GVSU students.

At the end of last semester, the Student Senate held their annual cabinet elections in which the senators selected new vice presidents and leaders of the organization’s subcommittees.

Former Vice President of Educational Affairs Faith Kidd ascended to become the senate’s new president.

Kidd, a senior majoring in political science, ran for the position on a platform of improving collaboration between the Student Senate and students at GVSU, as well as seeking general improvements to the effectiveness of the Student Senate as a whole. 

These are issues that often overlap, Kidd said. Kidd noted the need to diversify the Student Senate. The current Senate body is primarily composed of students studying political science and other related fields which, Kidd believes, can result in the Senate “cliquing off.” 

“I would like to get in and really try to change the culture during my short tenure,” Kidd said. “I would just love to be representative of all of the wonderful people that Grand Valley educates.”

Kidd said she hopes to encourage students from all majors to join the Senate and to make it a place for students of all educational backgrounds to be heard over this upcoming year.

This push for a more diverse group of senators comes at a time where the Student Senate is looking for more senators to join the organization. According to Vice President of Diversity Affairs Larbi Al Moutaa, the Student Senate currently has 21 sitting senators in comparison to its capacity of 50.

“In the beginning of the fall, you can expect large efforts with recruitment, with trying to promote the Student Senate and getting more students involved with us,” Al Moutaa said. 

The Student Senate is not the only organization on GVSU’s campus that has experienced dwindling membership, however, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had wide ranging effects on student organizations and student life.

Vice President of Allocations Ben Biermacher believes that improving student life and getting students more involved in GVSU sponsored events and organizations are also central goals of the Senate for the upcoming year.

“(The Student Senate’s) goal this year is to rebuild our connection with the student body and the administration,” Biermacher said. “We thought that by doing co-sponsored events and actually getting out and meeting students with other groups, we’d be able to find different types of students with different needs.”

One of the ways in which Biermacher and the Allocations Committee are working to generate this increased involvement is through the creation of the new Student Organization Recognition Fund, which will go toward events sponsored by the Student Senate in tandem with other student organizations.

In addition to the new Student Organization Recognition Fund, the Allocations Committee has also proposed the new Registered Student Organization (RSO) Promotional Services Fund.

Under previous funding guidelines, RSOs were only able to acquire promotional materials for specific events. However, the new fund will give RSOs a set budget to obtain promotional materials at their own discretion. 

The exact amount of funding given to each RSO will be determined in the upcoming months.

Looking toward this upcoming year, the members of the Student Senate cabinet appear aligned in their largest goal this year of improving both the senate as well as student culture.