While the summer break is dwindling down to a mere week, new students are arriving at Grand Valley State University for Laker welcome week events to start making connections and learn about what the campus has to offer.
On Sept. 6, students are invited to take a break from classes to learn about the numerous registered campus organizations and clubs at the annual Campus Life Night, a tradition for more than 30 years at GVSU.
Eric Stevens, student organization development coordinator at the Office of Student Life, said the event aims to give new and returning students a snapshot of groups on campus. For 2016, more than 450 organizations are expected to attend.
In addition to the traditional student clubs and Greek organizations, several local businesses and nonprofits are expected to attend and promote their services.
“This event has been going on at Grand Valley for decades now,” Stevens said. “It gives students an opportunity to stumble into involvement. Maybe you didn’t know there’s an organization on campus involving something you’re passionate about, that’s what Campus Life Night is for.”
As Transitions Week welcomes students to attend a variety of wellness and academic focused events, Stevens said Campus Life Night is also modeled to promote and shape the health of new students entering campus.
In addition, students are given the opportunity to meet other Lakers on campus, including professors and other business professionals, as more than 4,500 students typically attend the event.
“The primary reason for this event is to build interpersonal connections with other students,” he said. “The second reason is to learn strategies for wellness and personal success, so students can learn how to be successful academically and stay healthy on campus.”
Stevens added not only underclassman are welcome, but many upperclassmen are also able to find out about organizations or clubs overlooked from previous years.
As many career-related groups are on campus, he said students are able to use this opportunity to build a documented skill set. Stevens compared the experience to the sides of a coin, as this event provides the extracurricular opportunities to the other half of a required college education.
“College degrees have become the first expectation from employers, but getting involved on campus in extra curricular activities,” Stevens said, “now that will check off all of the other lists on a resume for a job. You’re gaining practical transferable skills.”
This year, a stage will be added to the location for student organizations to showcase their talents. The performances will be centered around performing arts groups such as music, dance and comedy.
In addition to the music and free food, many organizations bring “freebies” such as personalized pens, CDs or stickers for students to enjoy while walking from booth to booth.
“These (Laker Welcome Week) events provide students the chance to learn how to become a Laker,” Stevens said. “Understand what it means to be a Laker, our traditions, campus programming and to wear Laker blue or attend football games.
“This is the time to learn what it means to become a Laker for a lifetime.”
Campus Life Night will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. located in Parking Lot H, across from the Mary Idema Pew Library. In case of inclement weather, the event date will move to Sept. 11 at the same time.
For student organizations interested in signing up, registration closes Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. The cost is $250 a business for one table and $150 a nonprofit, and free for GVSU student organizations.