A letter from the Student Senate president

Over the last several weeks, the first Student Senate of Calvin University took our inaugural steps into this year of service. As the year progresses, each representative will dedicate a significant portion of our time to serve you, the students! Together, the 101-year-old organization Student Senate will continue to advocate for the student perspective to the Calvin administration and faculty. This is especially important as Calvin becomes a university!

Student Senate has a number of initiatives that we will be working on this year. One such topic is to discuss the reformation of the current faculty requirements of Calvin University. Past Student Senates have requested this faith topic to be included in conversations among the administration, and the 101st Student Senate is no exception. I will lead efforts to engage administrators and faculty who desire to reconsider these requirements within the context of a Reformed identity.

As the 2020 political election approaches, Student Senate hopes to encourage students to cultivate Christ-like dialogue while engaging with topics that are complicated, controversial, and often-times discouraging to talk about. Vice President Allen will be leading the civil discourse mandate to develop an atmosphere among the Calvin student body that not only welcomes this type of dialogue, but that results in an expansion of knowledge that outlasts their years at Calvin. Another prominent theme of this mandate is to empower students to use their freedom of speech on Calvin’s Campus. 

As Calvin University has increased in religious diversity over recent years, the conversation surrounding non-Christian religious involvement on campus is still vague. The goal of our interfaith dialogue mandate is to define what it means to be a religious minority at Calvin by gaining a deeper understanding of Calvin’s current policies on religious involvement, how the student experience is shaped by these policies, and how these policies fit with the mission of Calvin University. This semester, Vice President Cyr research Calvin’s religious background, and how other institutions have developed interfaith relations over time. This mandate will initiate events throughout the semester to raise awareness about the experience of religious minorities within the Christian context at Calvin. 

Additionally, Student Senate will lead efforts in sustainability on Calvin’s campus. Vice President Arthur hopes to lead this mandate and especially focus on dorm sustainability by addressing substandard policies or equipment failures. Student Senate will also collaborate with the administration to ascertain how students can assist to make Calvin carbon neutral by 2057.

Last, but not least, Vice President Casturo will be leading the Freshman Council,  a sub-group of Student Senate that consists of about 15 freshmen. This year, the Freshman Council will be focusing on facilitating change to dorm basements and residence life community. Through extensive research of peer institutions, this team will develop unique upgrades or renovation to the basements of dorms like Boer/Bennink. During the spring semester, this group will focus on dorm communities and how they tie in with the rest of the student body. 

Be sure to follow our Instagram @calvinsenate to stay updated on our individual projects such as, extending building hours, providing free tampons and pads in campus bathrooms, and building a fire-pit on campus! If you ever have an idea that you think would better the student experience, be sure to stop by our office in Commons Annex to share it or drop your comments in our suggestion box. Everyone is welcome to visit our meetings in the Alumni Board Room on Mondays at 4:30.