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

Laker Life Year in Review 2023-24

Courtesy / GVSU

Behind the curtains of GV’s Renaissance Festival

GVL | Aida Dennis

On Oct. 7, the 27th annual Grand Valley State University Renaissance Festival occupied the Kirkhof Center lawn. Students, vendors and community members alike socialized and produced a flashback to the past amidst the modern campus with their medieval garb. 

Hannah Bekius serves as the president of the club and the site director for the event. She has been a part of the GVSU Renaissance Festival Club (GVren) since the Fall of 2020, and was thrilled to see another year of Renaissance tradition and festivities. The club had to halt putting on the fair due to COVID-19 and only just started hosting the event again last year.

The Renaissance Festival club, which was founded in 1995, dedicates nearly all of its meeting time to planning the faire. Just as soon as they celebrate the success of one year’s faire, it becomes time to start working on the next. Bekius said the organization has to first plan the dates of the event, then finer details such as theme, vendors and entertainment, aren’t planned until about the nine-month mark out from the event.

Read more of Sara Bagely’s coverage of the Renaissance Festival here

Practice, performances, precision: GV Pompon’s dance legacy in motion

Courtesy | GVSU Pompon Instagram

Since 2006, Grand Valley State University’s club Pompon team (also known as Grand Valley Pompon or GVP) has represented GVSU in a number of arenas outside of Allendale. From competitions such as the Mid-American Pompon Championships to performing at local sports games for teams like the Grand Rapids Gold, Grand Rapids Griffins and the West Michigan Whitecaps, GVP proudly represents GVSU in blue, black and white uniforms.

Macey Dunn, GVSU senior and president of Grand Valley Pompon has spent her last four years at GVSU on the team. She has danced her whole life, starting at three, exploring multiple dance styles and continuing into a competitive varsity dance team through high school. Dunn joined the GVP team her first semester at GVSU, soon after joining, she got involved with the Eboard and worked her way up to president halfway through her third year on the team. 

“Coming to college, I knew I wanted to continue dance and pom. After looking at all of the different types of dance-related clubs GVSU has, I found out about GVP and decided to try out my freshman year,” Dunn said. “GVP does traditional pom, which is much different from what I was used to, so it was a little bit of an adjustment when I joined the team, but I love it, and it has become one of my favorite styles to perform.”

Read more of Sara Bagley’s coverage of the Club Pompon team here

GV Recreation and Wellness hosts adaptive intramural sports, increases accessibility for disabled students

Courtesy | GVSU

Grand Valley State University’s Recreation and Wellness program offers several adaptive intramural sports programs where disabled students can enjoy team sports by playing various adaptive versions. The programs are open to all students who want to participate.

Recreation and Wellness held various adaptive sport events throughout the winter semester. The range of sports includes wheelchair basketball, football, tennis and goalball. Mitch Eastlick, the assistant director of Recreation and Wellness at GVSU, said the program offers an opportunity to engage the entire GVSU community. 

The sports programs are a recent addition to Recreation and Wellness. The events began in the spring of 2023, and  in the fall of 2023 the program had 35 participants, with emphasis that anyone can join the events and hope for it to be an environment full of excitement and learning for students.

Read more of Siltali Padron’s coverage here

Beekeeper club promotes sustainability and awareness

Courtesy | GVSU Beekeeper’s Club Instagram

The Beekeepers club at Grand Valley State University strives to protect the local honeybee population and educate people about honeybees. Collaborating with the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP), the group is able to harvest honey through hands-on experiences at the SAP facilities’ hives.

Sustainability and bee awareness are two focal points for the group, and the club strives to make opportunities for students to make a difference attainable on campus and in the local area.

“The purpose of the Beekeepers club is to spread awareness of the importance of pollinators while supporting Grand Valley’s honeybee population,” said Vivian Gaskin, Beekeepers club president. 

Read more of Anne Davey’s coverage here

GV PR organizations emphasize networking, education beyond the classroom

Courtesy | GrandPR Website

Grand Valley State University’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (GVPRSSA) and GrandPR, GVSU’s first and only student-run integrated communications firm, collaborate with the aim of helping students build professional networks and work through real-life situations while in college. 

According to their website, GVPRSSA focuses on “preparing students for their future careers in the public relations and communications industry.” 

For many students, the organization serves as a way to network and jumpstart their careers while in college and prepare them for the future. 

Read more of Sitlali Padron’s coverage on GVPRSSA here



Decisions and dilemmas: GV men’s DI and DIII club hockey teams share budget

GVL | Bethann Long

Grand Valley State University offers 38 club sports for women’s, men’s and coed teams. Men’s club ice hockey is currently the only club sport that has both a Division I and Division III team of the same sex. The unique situation led Club Sports to force two teams to share a singular budget. 

The presence of two hockey teams under the GVSU club sports umbrella has led to questions about how the budget is and will be allocated between the two teams in regards to spending, fundraising and donations. Before 2020, the two teams had separate budgets. When the teams began playing after some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the budgets were combined. Mike Przydzial, acting director of Recreation & Wellness said one of the major reasons the budget was combined was “to level the playing field” in regards to how much money each club sport received from the Club Sports Department. He said GVSU has “no other club sports, same gendered, that existed as two separate organizations” like the men’s hockey organization.

“So when you look at things from an equity lens we had the men’s ice hockey program, basically receiving double the resources (from club sports) as the women were,” Przydzial said. “Ultimately (by combining the budgets) we were getting them to a level playing field, to align with every other club sport we have.” 

While GVSU Club Sports helps fund club sports to a certain extent, the majority of the budget is funded through club members’ dues, fundraising and ticket sales from the games. Since the whole budget is shared between the DI and DIII teams, where the money comes from and how it is spent can be a point of contention for the players of both teams.

Read more of Isabelle England, Bethann Long and Anne Davey’s coverage here

Beaver Island trip aims to teach environmental studies students sustainability 

Courtesy | GVSU

In 2022, Dr. Kelly Parker, professor of philosophy and director of environmental studies at Grand Valley State University, organized and led the first Beaver Island Field School trip, which is part of a hybrid spring/summer class.

This will be on the course catalog this upcoming semester for the third consecutive year. The hybrid course includes a one-day orientation at GVSU’s Allendale Campus, followed by a week of online learning and concludes with a week’s stay on Beaver Island. The class allows students to research the island’s environment and sustainability, and put together a report and proposal based on their findings.

More of Sara Bagley’s coverage on the Beaver Island Field School here.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle England
Isabelle England, Laker Life Editor
Isabelle England is the Laker Life editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Previously, she served as a staff writer for Laker Life. Isabelle is an english literature major with a minor in public relations and advertising. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two cats, Daisy Mae and Iris, as well as reading, crocheting and listening to Taylor Swift.