Student Senate election packet deadline approaches

By Anya Zentmeyer | 3/13/13 5:17pm


Election packets for Grand Valley State University students hoping to snag a spot on next year’s Student Senate are due March 18 to the Senate’s office by 5 p.m.

After prospective senators submit their election packets, they must have 75 students sign a petition supporting their election to the Senate in order to be put on the ballot, which opens up to the public for online voting at midnight on March 23. Polls will remain open until midnight on March 30.

Results of the election – including the 44 open general senate seats, and the nine cabinet positions – will be announced April 1.

Lindsay Vivano, vice president of public relations for the Senate, said candidates running for a seat on the Student Senate must also include a platform of 200 words and a headshot.

For the 2013-14 academic year, there are 44 seats open in the general senate, and six additional spots left open for any interested freshmen or transfer students who will have to undergo an interview by the Student Senate Resource Committee at a later date before earning a seat.

Out of around 50-60 total senators, nine students will be voted into the cabinet, including the positions of president, executive vice president and a vice president of each of the seven main committees.

“Applicants should be sure to review the election’s rules and guidelines which is in the elections packet because there are rules and regulations in regards to campaigning,” Vivano said.

She said the role of Student Senate within the context of the GVSU community is to “serve as the student voice of what students want to see accomplished or changed at Grand Valley.”

“We are a liaison between the students and faculty and staff. As senators, there are countless opportunities to not only work closely with a wide range of faculty, but also sit on academic committees and have the ability to first hand give opinions and feedback about changes being made,” Vivano said. “As a senator, resolutions can be written and oftentimes they get passed on to faculty governance.”

Voter turnout for the Student Senate elections have historically been low. Though voting saw a slight increase in participation from 2010-2011 – around 2,000 total votes cast in 2010, and 2,125 in 2011 – last year’s numbers dipped below 1,000, with only 980 total students who voted online in 2012.

Vivano said senators are utilizing classroom whiteboards to write “save” notes and reminders about election packet deadlines and online voting as well as more social media and, Vivano said, “mostly word of mouth.”
“I just want to stress the importance of voting,” she said. “It’s important to have as many voters as possible because Senate is seeking to be a diverse body composed of students from all aspects of student life.”
All interested GVSU students can pick up a packet at the Student Senate’s office, located at 0040 Kirkhof Center, or download one off it’s website at gvsu.edu/studentsenate under the “election” tab.

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