Student senate reviews outreach campaigns, facility improvements

By Theresa Mueller | 10/8/17 11:46pm

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GVL / Matt Read GVSU Student Senate on Thursday September 14, 2017.

After wrapping up the Battle of the Valleys campaign and initiating Indigenous Peoples Day, Grand Valley State University’s student senate is looking to establish its next major effort.

At the general assembly Thursday, Oct. 5, student senate vice president Dan Ziegenfelder noted that the fundraising efforts for Battle of the Valleys produced $17,000 for the Laker Children's Fund. 

Additionally, GVSU will be holding an Indigenous Peoples Day celebration Monday, Oct. 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room.

The general assembly was accompanied by two guest speakers: Jennifer Allard, associate director for student recruitment marketing, and Brad Wallace, director of athletic and recreation facilities.

The guest speakers asked the senators to help their programs and continue to discuss ways to benefit the campus community.

Over two years ago, GVSU launched the "Laker effect" campaign. Through collaboration between GVSU’s institutional marketing department and student senate, the campaign has seen major success.

Allard spoke on behalf of the institutional marketing department, explaining how GVSU is looking to expand and humanize the Laker effect to attract more students to the university.

Many students have likely noticed the various Laker effect billboards and posters with GVSU students featured across the front, but how much do viewers actually know about these students?

GVSU’s institutional marketing department will be launching a new Laker effect campaign next fall with the intention of personalizing posters and billboards with statements about each featured student.

“Students have great stories, and we want to highlight that,” Allard said.

In the meantime, Allard requested that student senate partake in the effort by helping find students’ stories to share.

“We’re on the hunt for students doing impactful studies,” she said. 

To further understand the efforts of GVSU’s recruitment process—besides letters, emails and posters—senator Eric Szczepaniak asked about admissions’ efforts to personalize the process for prospective students with a one-on-one outreach.

Allard explained that this is an effort made by student ambassadors.

Student senator Ethan Schafer furthered the questioning by asking more about the location of outreach. As a native of Northern Michigan, Schafer shared his lack of exposure to GVSU prior to attending. He said he did not notice very many advertisements for GVSU near his home and he was the only graduate from his high school to come to GVSU. 

In response, Allard confirmed that there is less promotion upstate, but she did not fully elaborate as to why. 

Wallace, who oversees all the sports facilities used for varsity sports, recreational sports and individual use, described himself as the “gatekeeper to the interests of all students.”

He recalled the major role the student senate had in the recent renovation and expansion of the Recreation Center, which was completed in the fall of 2016.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Wallace said, followed by a round of snaps from the assembly. 

Since the renovation, the number of visitors at the Recreation Center has increased by 24 percent. Wallace credits this influx of visitors to the expansion of the center, which he reiterated would not have been possible without the help of the student senate over a year ago. 

Despite the progress made through the recreation facilities, Wallace reminded the student senate that there are always needs and challenges for other athletic facilities. Rather than blindly commit to the needs of the athletic facilities, student senators asked Wallace to elaborate further. 

Wallace discussed the modest pool size, lack of exercise science lab space and the lack of multipurpose space. Student senator Maddie Rhoades questioned how improving these facilities would enhance the experiences of people with disabilities.

Wallace responded by saying the sports facilities accommodate with ramps.

Additional topics addressed included upcoming events, including the study abroad fair Wednesday, Oct. 11, and the career fair Thursday, Oct. 19. Rhoades noted the “Speak Up Against Bias” campaign is currently looking for more ambassadors.  

Two new student senators were also sworn in during the Thursday meeting. The next general assembly meeting will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, at 4:30 p.m. 

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