Student senate elections open through next week
Open positions give students opportunity to be involved on and off campus
GVL/Mackenzie Bush - Guest speaker Bobby J. Springer talks to the assembly at the Student Senate Meeting Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.
With almost 500 student organizations at Grand Valley State University, it can be overwhelming for students to decide which ones to get involved with. Some can make for an easy decision, for example if a student likes to sail, they can join the sailing club, or if they have an interest in bees, they can join the bee club. And for those looking to be leaders and become civically engaged on and off campus, student senate can offer that to all students.
Currently, GVSU's student senate is in the middle of their election process for the 2017-18 school year. The applications are open to both returning and new students at GVSU. There are 44 positions open and students from any major interested in any topic can run.
After being on senate for four years and as the current president, Ella Fritzemeier can vouch for the importance of senate at GVSU.
"Any student that wants to make a positive change at Grand Valley should consider running for student senate as it is one of the most rewarding experiences and you will learn so much about yourself, work with incredible leaders, and gain important skills that will help you with the rest of your life," Fritzemeier said. "Anybody even considering running should just go for it."
As the only student governing body at GVSU, student senate consists of 50 senators who sit on the body and are placed in one of seven committees: senate resources, finance, campus affairs, educational affairs, diversity affairs, external relations and public relations. Each committee then has a vice president, who reports directly to the executive vice president. The vice presidents for 2017-18 are nominated and voted on once the senate body has been elected by the university.
The election process has three components: The election packet which requires those who are running to petition 75 students and two faculty for signatures, an Orgsync form that consists of the candidate's platform and basic information, and a photo must be taken to be published in the Lanthorn and online.
Fritzemeier noted that the signatures obtained by candidates are not endorsements, but simply state that "the person whose petition they're signing is okay to be on the ballot."
Students interested in running must also be currently enrolled at GVSU and enrolled during the time the position is to be filled, have a 2.0 GPA to be a senator or a 2.5 GPA if they are running for a cabinet position.
"The goal is to have students that will work hard to represent many other students in their role on student senate, since we serve as the voice of students," Fritzemeier said. "We want our student body to elect and vote for the people that they believe will be best represent them in important issues that we discuss and work to change at Grand Valley."
Although there are 50 spots on senate, there are only 44 spots available for students to be elected to. The other six spots remain open to give incoming freshmen or transfer students a chance to apply.
For those who are nervous or hesitant to run, Fritzemeier encourages them to come into the senate office and speak with current members of senate.
"I would also say, 'why not try?'" she said. "The worst thing that could happen is that you don't get on, but you will have gained so many skills in running for a position, meeting new people, and learning how to articulate yourself to persuade others.
"It's a great experience and a great way to learn how to give a great elevator pitch."
Some current projects senate is working on include pushing administration to support an official Fall Break, working with the university to come up with parking solutions, finding affordable textbooks and pushing for more state funding for GVSU.
"Student senate elections should be important to everybody as we are the people that represent all of the student body on important issues," Fritzemeier said.
Any student interested in running and being a part of student senate can find and print the election packet from the student senate website or pick one up from the senate office in Kirkhof Center Room 0040. Once students have obtained their 75 student signatures and two faculty signatures, filled out their Orgsync form and had their photos taken, they will need to turn their packets in. The deadline to submit packets is Monday, March 20, at 5 p.m.
Voting will begin Monday, March 27, at 8 a.m. and will conclude Friday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m.
For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/studentsenate/elections or visit the student senate office.