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Student senate promises changes this year

File photo.
File photo.

Student senate will never be thought of the same after this year. Student senate is aspiring to something great.

You may have noticed our new logo floating around campus. We didn’t make that change because we had nothing else to do. The logo we had, the symbol of the London Underground, had been around for over 15 years and we believe students associate that logo with a certain image of senate.

So changing our logo wasn’t an accident — it was absolutely deliberate. The new logo represents the radical change student senate is making. Let me explain.

This is our 95th year in existence. Originally, student senate was created as a disciplinary council — a sort of student police. This role has, of course, been modified in many ways.

Throughout time senate has served the needs of the student body. This took different forms. For instance, making chapel optional, paving the way for what is now the Service-Learning Center and starting weekend programming were all the results of student senate.

Now you know who we were. Let me tell you who we are.

We are a collaboration of passionate individuals. We are a group of people who believe that an organization like student senate has the ability to do something great for Calvin College. We believe that the student body deserves something bigger. We believe that there is more to be achieved.

So we’re doing it. We’re setting our goals high and trying to see how much good this organization can do in a year. And this isn’t just about us, this isn’t just about the students, this isn’t even just about Calvin College, this is also about the community and about showing that we, the student body of Calvin College, can be something more in this world.

This is about taking the next step. We are doing things that will shape the culture of this college, that will shape the culture of Grand Rapids and that will ultimately shape cultures that extend far beyond this place.

We are engaging in conversations over policies that Calvin has had for years. We’re talking about Calvin’s marijuana policy and its tobacco policy. We’re talking about the socio-economic structure of Calvin College and of our community — where it’s weak and how it can improve.

We’re taking on initiatives that matter. We’re making this campus more handicap-accessible, opening the door to a group of people who may feel that, at Calvin, the door is closed. We’re rethinking traditions that have made it impossible for students to have a common workspace on Sundays or late at night.

We’re making sustainability at Calvin College more than an academic buzzword — we’re making it a reality. We want to give you an actual student union. We’re maintaining and improving things like the bike program and student governance. We want to expand student governance, ensuring that the voices of actual students are in the rooms where decisions are being made.

And we’re listening. We’ve created focus groups that involve students from almost every part of Calvin’s extremely diverse community. We’re in the process of creating a statistically significant poll, giving us real information about what you want.

We are doing things that will shape the culture of this college, of Grand Rapids and of cultures beyond and student senate will never be thought of the same after this year.

We aren’t joking. We want to shake it up and get things done.

I’m sure that to many, these claims seem too extraordinary, too lofty. I’m sure they seem unlikely and far-fetched. I’m sure that many will find them stupid. However, I must disagree.

These claims are attainable — they are within our grasp. These are the claims that student senate must make and these are the claims you must hold us to. We are setting the bar high because we know this is where it can be set.

I believe that we can be agents of change now. I want to see that potential become reality. I want to make real change in this world and I believe it be done right here, right now, by us.

This is an extraordinary year for Calvin and for student senate. However, without the student body — without your ideas, without your enthusiasm, without your feedback — student senate can do nothing.

Join us in creating something great at Calvin College.

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