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Student Senate aims to improve cultural, student relations next year – Grand Valley Lanternthorn

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The Grand Valley State University Student Council said that heading into the 2022-2023 academic year, the newly elected Cabinet aims to increase outreach and collaboration with GVSU students.

At the end of the previous semester, student senators held their annual cabinet elections, and the senators elected new vice-presidents and leaders of the organization’s subcommittees.

Faith Kidd, former Vice President for Education Affairs, was sworn in as the new president of the Senate.

Kidd, a senior political science major, ran for a platform to improve collaboration between student councils and GVSU students, calling for a general improvement in the effectiveness of student councils as a whole.

These are often overlapping issues, says Kidd. Kidd pointed out that student councils need to be diversified. The current Senate body is mostly made up of students studying political science and other related fields, and Kidd believes the Senate could be “derailed.”

“I want to join and change the culture during my short tenure,” Kidd said. “I want to represent all the great people Grand Valley educates.”

Kidd encourages students of all majors to participate in the Senate and hopes to make it a place where students of all academic backgrounds will be heard during the year.

This push for a more diverse group of senators comes as student senators are looking for more senators to join the organization. The student senator now has 21 members to her 50 seats, according to Larbi Al-Mouta, vice president of diversity affairs.

“By the beginning of the fall, we can expect to see a major effort in recruitment by promoting student councils and getting more students to join us.

However, the Student Council is not the only organization to experience a decline in membership on GVSU campuses as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on student organizations and student life.

Allocation Vice President Ben Biermacher believes that improving student life and getting more students involved in GVSU-sponsored events and organizations are also core goals for the Senate next year.

“[The student council’s]goal this year is to reestablish links between student bodies and government,” Biermacher said. “We thought that by co-sponsoring events and actually going out and meeting other groups of students, we would be able to find different types of students with different needs.”

One of the ways Biermacher and the Quota Committee are working to increase this involvement is through the creation of a new Student Organization Recognition Fund. This fund will be used for events sponsored by the Student Council in collaboration with other student organizations.

In addition to the new Student Organization Recognition Fund, the Quota Committee also proposed a new Registered Student Organization (RSO) Facilitating Services Fund.

Under previous fundraising guidelines, RSO was only able to obtain promotional materials for specific events. However, the new fund will set a budget for RSO to obtain promotional materials at its sole discretion.

The exact amount of funding to be awarded to each RSO will be determined in the coming months.

Heading into this next year, the members of the Student Senate Cabinet seem to be aligned with this year’s overarching goal of improving both the Senate and student culture.