The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Language Resource Center offers students cultural community

GVL | Sam Nelson

The Grand Valley State University Language Resource Center (LRC) is a foreign language hub and study space for students of all disciplines. The center is open 9 a.m to 9 p.m during the week and is also open on weekends.

In the LRC, students can find three computer labs, puppet theater with over a hundred puppets, movies and books in many foreign languages, and a lounge space that aims to encourage community and communication between students. 

Students Levi Baird and Matthew Kelley said they often use the space to hang out with friends and catch up on their Chinese and Japanese homework, respectively.

Kelley said receiving academic support from the LRC has helped him in his language learning journey at GVSU.

“We have a tutor that comes in here that helps us and we like to compete (using) whiteboards and hold (them) up so she could see if we got it right or not,” Kelley said. 

Ellen Wilson is a student studying Spanish who is an employee and Student Supervisor at the LRC. Wilson said one of LRC’s slogans is, “This ain’t a library.” The center promotes itself as a place where students are encouraged to practice language, hang out or enjoy foreign media. The center staff also provides free coffee and tea for students to enjoy. The space has flexible seating and has a variety of uses, which plays into the LRC’s goal of creating a community for students and faculty. 

“It’s really just a space for students to come hang out, practice their language skills and meet other people who are also (what) we call ‘language nerds,’” Wilson said. “It’s also an awesome academic space because professors bring their classes in to watch movies and work on audio-visual projects.” 

Wilson said the LRC helps her advance her passion for language and audio-visual projects. As part of her job, she works assisting professors and students with facilitating projects on Garageband, Dill, Pixton, and other software.

Wilson has been working on digitizing foreign movies and TV shows at the center so they can be made accessible for students to access at home. In the past, the LRC has had DVDs available for check out, but with technology changing, the center wants to make media widely available online. 

Another resource the center offers is the puppet theater, which is used largely by foreign language students who make plays and do performances for classes using puppets. Wilson said the puppet shows helps students “talk and vocalize in the second language” in a way that takes the pressure off of the individual because it allows them to have the puppet “talk” for them. 

The LRC is planning to branch out and host more events that promote the space itself and its language programs. 

“The LRC right now is really hoping, and we’ve been working on, shifting our gears towards more of a community engagement aspect,” Wilson said.

The LRC aims to find a balance between being a social spot for students and an academic center. The LRC also strives to promote the space for all students. While language students gravitate towards it for courses, anyone is welcome to utilize the resources offered by the space.

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