Student senate addresses potential changes to BOTV, fall break

Student senate addresses potential changes to BOTV, fall break

By Sarah Hollis | 2/19/18 2:19am

Student Senate (1 of 6)
GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Thursday, February 8th, 2018. Student Senate.

At its general assembly Thursday, Feb. 15, the Grand Valley State University student senate discussed Battle of the Valleys, the potential for a fall break at GVSU and changes to the student senate constitution.

The Laker Traditions team has decided to no longer collaborate with GVSU’s student senate for Battle of the Valleys. In the wake of this decision, the student senate will likely be holding a vote at its general assembly on Thursday, Feb. 22, to decide whether or not to continue with this tradition. 

In light of the discussion at the general assembly, it seems as though most senators are in favor of continuing Battle of the Valleys. 

“In the meeting, we talked about all the different factors of Battle of the Valleys: There’s school pride, there’s student pride, we’re raising money for the Laker Children’s fund,” said Sen. Madison Esselink. “It breeds a lot of good school spirit. Whether they know the specifics or not, people are invested in the activities and in the game. 

“Another senator said that there’s so much Battle of the Valleys merch that people wear year-round, let alone what they wear during Battle of the Valleys. I just think it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great way to gauge school pride and school spirit, and to just be proud to be a Laker.”

If the senate votes to continue Battle of the Valleys, there may be some big changes to the event. Any changes will be determined by the senate committee tasked with planning the event. 

“Having been involved in the past few years that I’ve been at Grand Valley with Battle of the Valleys and on the planning committee, it’s really hard to make those specific changes in such a big group, especially because a lot of the people in this room might not be fully educated on the logistics and the processes of Battle of the Valleys," said Jonathan Bowman, student senate president.

“So, I think that should be left up to the committee that plans Battle of the Valleys. I think a larger discussion as a student senate, and a student body, of whether or not we want to continue Battle of the Valleys, and then if we decide we do want to continue it, the committee will steer that.”

In other governance news, university officials have sent a survey to a select group of students regarding a potential fall break at GVSU. It’s important that all who received the survey respond within a week so that their voice and opinion on the issue can be heard. 

“So, that survey went out today," Bowman said. "Phil Batty, who works on logistics and is kind of a numbers guy for the university, he decided on a sample so that we can get a good amount of people from each program and major and the different colleges. We’re hoping for a 10-percent response rate. They have a week to fill it out.”

While a fall break might seem wholly beneficial at first glance, Bowman encourages students to be mindful of how the change would impact the entire academic year.  

“A lot of people might want a fall break, but would they want it to affect their summer? Would they want it to affect their winter break?” he said. "How would students ideally like to see it happen? We’re still in the stages of figuring out if it’s even possible, but hopefully this will help us engage in that conversation.” 

After the survey is completed, the next step will be for fall break suggestions to go to the faculty senate. Ideally, this will happen March 16. 

“We’re coming up with recommendations that we’re presenting to the faculty senate, and that should go to them on March 16," Bowman said. "After the faculty senate, it would go to a vote, and that would go to the provost."

GVSU’s student senate general assembly meets every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Pere Marquette Room.

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