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Student Senate holds first State of the Student Body address

  • Student Senate President Eric-John Szczepaniak speaks during first State of the Student Body address January 16.
  • GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella talks with Student Senators at the first State of the Student Body.
  • A student senator speaks at the first State of the Student Body.
  • President Philomena Mantella, Provost Maria Cimitile and Dean of Students Loren Rullman listen at the first State of the Student Body.
  • A student senator speaks at the first State of the Student Body.
  • University Arts Chorale performs at the first State of the Student Body.

Posted on January 16, 2020

Student Senate President Eric-John Szczepaniak and other senators shared the senate's recent accomplishments and upcoming events during first State of the Student Body address January 16.

Students, faculty, staff and President Philomena V. Mantella attended the address, which was held in the Cook-DeWitt Center on the Allendale Campus. 

Szczepaniak and student senate vice presidents shared some of the senate’s recent successes. Among those was senate’s collaboration with the Community Service Learning Center to register more than 200 students to vote on National Voter Registration Day in September. 

GVSU also earned a Silver Seal from the All In Campus Democracy Challenge for its 2018 campus voting rate. 

Szczepaniak said more will be done to promote civic engagement ahead of the 2020 presidential election, such as informing students about absentee ballots. 

Other successes shared included the implementation of the first fall break in October and a resolution that resulted in the creation of an interfaith reflection room in the Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences. 

Senators took the opportunity to promote upcoming events this semester, including Martin Luther King Jr. Week and Replenish Week events. A donation to Replenish, the university’s food pantry, grants a student entry to events. 

During the event, Melissa Selby-Theut, assistant director of prevention and community education for the University Counseling Center, shared mental health resources on campus. The University Arts Chorale performed a piece called “Please Stay." 

Szczepaniak said the idea to hold a State of the Student Body came from another senator, who suggested highlighting ways the organization collaborates with the university.

He said it’s also an opportunity to encourage other students to be involved at Grand Valley — in student senate, by offering feedback for Mantella's Reach Higher Together initiative, or in other ways. 

“The goal is to make students more aware of the resources that exist at Grand Valley today and prompt them to form the university’s next chapter,” Szczepaniak said.