Greek life make up 49% of Student Senate body
According to winter 2012 data from Grand Valley State University’s office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, about 5 percent of undergraduate males and 6.3 percent of undergraduate females are involved in a Greek life organization on campus. At the GVSU Student Senate’s last general assembly meeting, 19 out of 39 senators present had some involvement in Greek life on campus, with fraternity and sorority members making up 49 percent of of the senate’s governing body.
Samantha Conrad, member of the Student Senate Finance Committee as well as a sorority on campus, said despite the disparity, senate doesn’t favor issues pertaining to Greek life, and doesn’t make a lot of changes or resolutions involving Greek life at all. “Student Senate doesn’t really get into Greek affairs as much,” Conrad said. “It’s kind of a different operating system under its own rules,” Conrad said. “No changes (in Greek life) have necessarily been made because of senate.”
In addition, Student Resources Committee member Kathleen Ross said Greek life membership doesn’t grant senators involved any more influence than those who are not involved. “We’re not representing our sorority, we’re representing ourselves,” Conrad said. “But I do bring information from senate back to my chapter to inform them about what’s going on.” Brennen Gorman, a fraternity member and vice president of the Senate Campus Affairs Committee, said that he also tries to keep his fraternity up-to-date on campus activities. “I’d like to think my chapter is better informed on how campus works, especially on stuff that I can answer,” Gorman said.
As for the seemingly ill-proportioned Greek representation, Gorman said it makes sense that a lot of students involved in Greek life seek leadership on campus. “I think it’s because people involved in Greek life tend to get active all around campus,” Gorman said. “If you look around at almost any other student organization, you’d probably see a handful of Greeks represented in any type of organization. It just happens that senate is a rather large one and we tend to attract leaders.” He said that although there is some variety of senators, there’s always room for improvement so that all groups on campus are proportionately represented.”
“That’s a large reason why we’ve been reaching out to the graduate students, because they’re a large population who are clearly underrepresented,” he said. “We’ve been trying to work something out with them to get them more representation.” Marissa Kobe, who is a member of both a sorority and the Political Affairs Committee, said Student Senate is always trying to represent a changing campus. “All students are represented, but I think that Student Senate is always evolving and changing to help reflect the evolving and changing campus,” she said.
Kobe encouraged students on campus who want to make changes to the university, to go out and get involved on campus.
“If you are someone who wants to make a difference, wants to get involved, or has a lot to say, the best way to do that is to speak up,” Kobe said. “You can’t go through college not grabbing opportunities. It makes Grand Valley seem that much smaller when you know that many people, and it makes it a better experience.”
For a list of the Student Senate members, visit www.gvsu.edu/studentsenate.