“Semester in Grand Rapids:” New program open to students

Courtesy: Semester in Detroit/GR

Courtesy: Semester in Detroit/GR

Amy McNeel

Inspired by the success of Semester in Detroit, a University of Michigan program that is open to GVSU students in the fall, the Brooks College Office for Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development has established a new program called Semester in Grand Rapids. 

The program, which will first take place this upcoming 2019 spring and summer semester, is an opportunity for GVSU students to learn more about the Grand Rapids community and gain experience outside of the classroom. 

“It is a living-learning program where students will live in Grand Rapids, take courses about Grand Rapids and participate in community-based internships,” said Kristin Moretto, Ph.D. and Director for Office for Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development. 

Through the program, students will go through an internship matching process, which will direct them to possible internships that will be a good fit for both the student and the community partner. 

Along with internships, student will also gain a total of nine credits through the program. These credits include three internship credits, two issues credits and a credit for Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) and United States Diversity. Additionally, students can meet with Jennifer Jameslyn, professional advisor for Brooks College, to work the credits into their academic plan. 

However, through the program, students will gain a lot more than just credit hours; the immersive program will ultimately provide students with real life experiences that will help them grow both in and out of the classroom. 

“The program is intentionally integrated to connect what students are learning in the classroom to what they are doing outside of the classroom in their internships and daily lives,” Moretto said. “The program combines multiple high-impact practices to deliver more value to students and the community.” 

Those who participate in Semester in Grand Rapids will take away skills and knowledge about the complexities of cities like Grand Rapids, and an understanding of how they can civically engage with the community.

“It is a chance to learn from and work with community members and agencies who are doing good work in the City of Grand Rapids. The skills, relationships, and perspectives that students will gain through this program are transferrable to any profession or community,” Moretto said. “Certainly, I hope students learn more about themselves, their peers and their community. I hope that this program will equip students with real life skills, knowledge and understanding that will prepare them for their futures.”

Students who are interested in the program are welcome to attend a drop-in informational lunch on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Kirkhof Center room 1104. The event will include free pizza and an opportunity to speak with representatives from Semester in Grand Rapids and Semester in Detroit. 

The program is open to all GVSU students, but is best fit for students entering their junior or senior year. 

Applications for the program are now open, and those who apply before January 11 will be looked at for priority consideration. In-person interviews will then be conducted with applicants starting in January of 2019.  

To apply for Semester in Grand Rapids, go to www.gvsu.edu/sigr.