Student Senate Sketches: President Andrew Plague
The Grand Valley State University Student Senate is an important part of life at GVSU, but do you know any of the members of the governing body?
Meet Andrew Plague, the Student Senate president.
Going into his third year at GVSU, Plague is a peer research consultant in the Knowledge Market at the Mary Idema Pew Library, a fellow in the Cook Leadership Academy and part of the Speak Up campaign.
Plague is majoring in political science with minors in LGBTQ studies and philosophy. He was elected this past spring to serve as GVSU’s 2014-2015 Student Senate president after being in the cabinet the previous school year. He officially joined the senate during his sophomore year.
He compares the structure of GVSU’s elections to that of the United States’ system; speculation begins almost as soon as cabinet members are selected.
“Outgoing and returning senators started talking to me about being president as soon as I was elected as a vice president. It seemed ridiculous at the time,” Plague said.
Several months before elections were held, Plague decided to run.
“I felt confident that I was prepared and had the perspective needed to do the job,” he said. “An effective Student Senate president really has to have a strong understanding of the Student Senate itself and the overall university governance and administrative structure.”
Plague said that the Student Senate’s main purpose is to help improve the university and to help ensure that it remains focused on the students.
“Senators are working on a variety of initiatives including expanding bus routes, exploring open textbooks, striving for a more inclusive campus and promoting a 'fall breather' in lieu of a fall break just to name a few things,” he said.
Plague’s job consists of using his position to work toward the inclusion and benefit of all students but also to oversee that the senate runs smoothly. One way that they work to represent the student voice is by sitting on committees and taskforces throughout the university.
As president, Plague would like to make sure that the senators are a part of these meetings and are engaged.
“As president, I also need to work to foster leadership growth and development among the senators,” Plague said. “So while much of my job is being that spokesperson or face at the university, there are a lot of things that I work on internally to ensure that, as a student government, we live up to our potential.”
Plague’s many hats are a testament to his leadership ability and to the example he sets for all students. As a veteran student, he has plenty of advice for incoming freshmen. He encourages first year students to be prepared to learn.
“Half the fun of being a first year student is figuring everything out,” Plague said. “You will learn so much during your first year in college, not just in the classroom, but also about yourself and other people. If you haven’t completely shattered at least one idea that you held to be true about yourself or the world by the end of your first year, I would say that you are missing out on the true purpose of a liberal arts education.”
To learn more about the GVSU Student Senate or to get involved, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GVSUStudentSenate, their Twitter @GVStudentSenate or their website, www.gvsu.edu/studentsenate.