Student senate talks leadership with President Haas

By Jess Hodge | 9/7/16 10:19pm

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GVL / Luke Holmes - The members of the Student Senate board as President Thomas Haas comes to the podium. Student Senate held their first meeting of the year in the Pere Marquette Room Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.

by Luke Holmes / Grand Valley Lanthorn

With the first week of classes done, Grand Valley State University’s student senate held their first meeting Thursday, Sept. 1 to reconvene after summer break.

Student senate is made up of 50 student leaders, each assigned to one of seven committees: senate resources, finance, campus affairs, educational affairs, diversity affairs, external relations and public relations. The senate cabinet is made up of one vice president per committee, an executive vice president and the student senate president.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes - Student Senate held their first meeting of the year in the Pere Marquette Room Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.

GVSU President Thomas Haas swore the senators in and spoke to them about what it's like being a leader on and off campus.

“You have to balance (challenges) in leadership roles,” he said. “You are now in that role and position to help other students succeed while they’re here (as) part of the leadership and service you have taken on freely to be in this role as a senator.”

Haas talked about the important four C’s of leadership: competency, climate, culture and character. While the first three are important, Haas emphasized the importance of the senator’s character at all times.

“(Character is) who you are, that’s the individual that you are developing, that is understanding who you are as a servant leader,” Haas said. “Your character is what you own, and that’s what leadership is, taking all those C’s and serving others because they’ve entrusted you to be in a leadership role.”

Haas also mentioned the alleged sexual assaults that have been reported and the impact that has on the GVSU community.

“It’s all on us, I believe that,” he said. “It’s all of us together as a family, as a community, to ensure that we all have an environment that is safe that we can all learn, learn from one another, learn from our professors, learn from the experiences we have here at the university.

“So I just ask you to help me help our staff to take some of that lead (and) we need to continue to be strong in the resolve that one (sexual assault) is too many.”

Bob Stoll, associate dean for student life at GVSU, also spoke to the senators. Stoll is the faculty adviser for student senate and works closely with them throughout the year. He encourages senators to not only help other students be civically engaged, but also be civically engaged themselves as leaders.

Senate President Ella Fritzemeier is excited for the senators to start their work as leaders for the 25,000 students they represent. The senate cabinet worked throughout the summer for projects for their senators to work on.

A large event in the making is Rock the Vote, happening Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.

Executive Vice President Sean O’Melia said the event is a concert to encourage voting and civic engagement. It is the end of the civic assembly week, held from Sept. 26 through Sept. 30.

The finance committee will start appropriation meetings Tuesday, Sept. 13. The campus affairs committee has projects regarding a testing center and a sexual assault training and support group in the works. The educational affairs committee is working on its annual Last Lecture event, the Dickinson Elementary School visit and an open access week.

Student senate meets every Thursday for general assembly at 7 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room, located on the upper floor of Kirkhof Center. 

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