Student Senate modifies election process
Hopes new system will increase number of candidates and voters
Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate has mapped out a plan for elections this year in the hope of getting a greater number of candidates and voters than in previous years.
“It’s very much a trial and error year for us to see what can change the 3-percent voter turnout that we currently have,” Executive President Stephanie Ewart said. “(Also), we kind of get the same types of candidates, so I’d like to broaden that with a multitude of organizations and a multitude of colleges.”
Vice President for Senate Resources Danielle Meirow said senators will be helping spread the word about the organization and elections.
“Throughout the next couple weeks, current senators will be presenting at various student organizations’ meetings to educate them on the purpose of Student Senate, as well as the election process,” Meirow said.
Some students stray away from joining the senate because they believe that it’s just for political science majors, but that isn’t the case. “A lot of people have things they want to see changed on campus and they don’t know that this is the place where it’s done,” Ewart said.
Members currently on the senate will not automatically be given a position for the fall 2014 semester and will have to run for re-election if they are interested in serving another term. This means there are a total of 44 senate seats open for election. There is no limit to how many candidates there can be.
“The more students we get to run, the more people that have a vested interest,” Ewart said.
On Feb. 24, students will be able to pick up application packets in the Student Senate office or on its website.
As usual, the last page of the packet includes space for a petition of 75 student signatures, but Ewart said one change to elections this year is that the packet will also include space for two faculty endorsements.
Students interested in running will have two weeks to pick up a packet, fill it out and get signatures. Packets are due on March 10.
“As long as they’re in good academic standing, then they are put up in the election process,” Ewart said.
Once students are approved for the election process, they will be asked to return to the senate office to give more information about their plans if elected. Ewart said that this process has also changed slightly.
“This year we’re picking three platform questions, which will be really imperative things at the university level,” she said.
Students’ answers to those questions, along with a short biography and a picture, will be posted online for voters to read.
Voting will be from March 23 until March 29. During this time, candidates will be able to campaign to the student body.
As in the past, students will be able to vote online through the Student Senate page on the GVSU website using a blackboard login and password.
Ewart said the senate is also working to set up polling on OrgSync and in the Kirkhof Center and the Kleiner Commons.
For more information visit the Student Senate website at www.gvsu.edu/studentsenate.