Student Senate gears up for another semester
Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate has a new cabinet with fresh plans for the upcoming year, including increasing involvement from the student body.
“There are a lot of ‘new’ senators on this year’s body, but their fresh minds and new ideas will help to look at issues with a fresh light,” Student Senate President Ricardo Benavidez said. Benavidez added that the senate is already looking to address a few concerns, including a lack of space in the Recreation Center.
“I also look forward to our work with the Student Association of Michigan,” he said. “This is a body made up of the Student Body Presidents from all Public Universities in the state. We work with each other and our VPs for Political Affairs to tackle student issues at the state level. These issues include items such as student loan rate increases. Focusing more on campus, we will continuing to work on representing all students and their diverse, ever-changing needs.”
Other senators joined with different visions to improve the university.
“As a whole, senate would like to be more visible on campus,” said Andrew Plague, vice president of the political affairs committee. “As the student governing body we have a responsibility to represent the interests of our fellow Lakers. We’re planning some exciting new ways to get feedback from students so that we can better fulfill that responsibility.”
The senate’s ups and downs are directly related to the senate cabinet, said Anthony Clemons, vice president of the diversity affairs committee. The cabinet’s influence is why he decided to accept the nomination.
“I wanted to take on this role because not only do I eat, breathe and sleep social justice advocacy, but I also think that I can be a member of cabinet who will ensure the senate has more ups than downs,” Clemons said. “I think our cabinet this year will be working extremely hard to make sure that the senate runs as smoothly as possible, at the same time allowing each and every senator to build their own experience within the governing body.”
Tim Layer, vice president of the campus affairs committee, said he hopes his committee can focus on campus issues such as safety, students’ rights, parking and disability services.
“I enjoy being a part of the Grand Valley Student Senate and wanted to take a leadership role in my last year here,” Layer said. “The growth and improvements completed since my freshman year have been exciting to watch. I hope our committee can continue to influence and make an impact at Grand Valley.”
Scott St. Louis, vice president of the educational affairs committee, said he felt driven to continue working on the committee because the projects he worked on last year were well-received by the senate and the student body.
“I intend to raise student awareness about a policy issue known as open-access scholarly publishing, which aims to increase the amount of high-quality academic research to which students throughout the world have access for their own education and projects,” St. Louis said.
The senate cabinet is currently seeking students who are interested in applying for senate.
“I encourage anyone with a passion for change and advocacy to apply for senate,” Clemons said. “This includes graduate students. We’re the governing body of the entire student body and I think there is a lot to be said about that. Fill out an application on our website and bring it to the senate office.”
The Student Senate office is located in 0040 Kirkhof Center. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/studentsenate.