Student senate looks at credit structuring, upcoming elections

By Sarah Hollis | 2/12/18 1:34am

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

At its general assembly Thursday, Feb. 8, the Grand Valley State University student senate discussed the current credit block at GVSU, a potential partnership with the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and the upcoming Student Senate Week. 

After seven years of the 12-15 credit block at GVSU, student senate is beginning to investigate changing it back to a 12-16 credit block. 

“It’s more research now," said Eric-John Szczepaniak, chair of the educational affairs committee. "I found out it was the Board of Trustees’ decision that took effect in fall 2011, so it will probably have to be the Board of Trustees that ultimately changes it back. 

"I guess the first step is finding out how much money the university makes from this 16th credit and students that are taking 16 credits, and seeing how much money it is generating for the university, then seeing if we can help alleviate that somewhere in the budget.”

In addition to changing the credit block to make scheduling easier for students, senate is in the early stages of setting up a partnership between GVSU and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in downtown Grand Rapids. This would enable GVSU students to have free entrance into the UICA with their student ID. 

“All I did was email them," said Rachel Jenkin, chair of the campus affairs committee. "I asked about, on average, how much it costs per month for these universities, how many students are coming and how long the partnership has happened. They said that they had just created the partnership with GRCC (Grand Rapids Community College) a month ago, so they’re fairly new to all of it. Then they explained how it’s $5, and they just contact the university at the end of each month, and the university pays $5. 

“I just started the conversation this week, but I plan to meet with somebody, figure out where we can get the money for this, because I think it would be awesome, even if it’s just for a semester, and then try to continue it from there.”

Those interested in these projects, or who have their own ideas for projects at GVSU, are encouraged to think about running for senate. The student senate will be hosting Student Senate Week from Monday, Feb. 26, through Thursday, March 1, to help interested students learn more about senate and how to run, as well as to create buzz surrounding elections. 

“Student Senate Week is a week put on by the public relations committee to put more of a face to the name of senate and just get the student body involved,” said Morgan Mattler, chair of the public relations committee. “We have an assortment of events that go on throughout the week where we try to get as many students out as possible to learn about senate and to learn about how to run for senate.”

Mattler said the week is about showing GVSU students that they can be a part of senate.

“We have students come out just to get a feel of what senate is all about,” he said. “We try to do an assortment of different events, we try to survey students, we try to get students to just come out and meet senators and to have senators listen to students’ complaints. And we also do a couple of awesome things like a diversity affairs workshop where students will get to learn how to be more inclusive. Student Senate Week is about bringing students together and really hyping up elections for student senate.”

Student senate meets for general assembly in the Kirkhof Center Pere Marquette Room every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. 

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