Student senate talks winter 2017 goals including fall break, sexual assault townhall

By Jess Hodge | 1/8/17 8:18pm

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

by Luke Holmes / Grand Valley Lanthorn

What does fall break, the Teach-In, President’s Ball and Mental Health Awareness week all have in common? They are all things Grand Valley State University’s student senate will work on and strive to improve in the 2017 winter semester.

Those are only some of the focus points senate will have this semester, as the 50 members of senate have many projects in the works. GVSU's student senate works to provide the 25,000 students of GVSU with the best college experience. Many of these projects will try to do just that.

Ella Fritzemeier, student senate president, has personal goals for herself to achieve and also has goals she hopes senate as a body can accomplish.

As president, she said she wants to make sure the senators are “engaged with student senate and everyone is making the progress they want to be making on their projects.”

When Fritzemeier graduates in April, her big goal is to have a solidified break in the next fall for GVSU students.

“I feel as though (fall break) has been in process for so long, something needs to change. Whether it's small or large, there needs to be a break for our students,” Fritzemeier said via email. “They deserve it and we can see it from the number of students that attend the counseling center between October and November.

Another project Fritzemeier would like to see gain ground is Mental Health Awareness week that will be put on in March. Last year was the first year for Mental Health Awareness week when senate teamed up with many departments at GVSU including the Counseling Center to shed light on mental health, particularly in college kids.

Bob Stoll, student senate’s faculty advisor, said he was happy with the work the senators put out last semester and hopes to see more in the winter semester. One thing Stoll said he was quite happy about was the way senate connected with the student body as a whole.

“I think they’ve done a pretty good job connecting to the student body as a whole,” Stoll said. “It seems to me they’ve been representative as a body and they’ve been more in tune with a lot of general kind of needs.”

Fritzemeier also mentioned interacting with the GVSU community more as something she would like to see improved on from last semester.

“We did a pretty good job of this, but there is always room for improvement,” she said.

Student senate elections are also on Fritzemeier’s and Stoll’s radar. Fritzemeier hopes there will be a high turnout for the elections, both with the number of people running as a candidate and the number of people voting.

“The whole election process happens in the spring so trying to get everyone actively engaged and getting people to run for office, run for senate (so) that’s one of the (goals),” Stoll said.

One last event Fritzemeier hopes to host is another sexual assault follow-up townhall for people to ask questions and express their concerns.

“If there are any projects that were not discussed that student believe should be a priority, then they should contact us,” Fritzemeier concluded. “We love hearing from the student body about things that they believe are important.”

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