Student Academic Success Center expands

Student Academic Success Center expands

Alex Sinn

Grand Valley State University’s Student Academic Success Center will soon expand its services, with the help of a gift from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The gift of $200,000, awarded April 24, will go toward enhancing the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy from its current role of helping students transition from high school to college to helping upperclassmen with graduation goals.

John Russell, CEO of Consumers Energy, chair of the Consumers Energy Foundation and member of the GVSU board of trustees, said his foundation is interested in education initiatives that are good for the state of Michigan.

GVSU’s President Thomas Haas said board members like Russell recognize the local impact the university has on Michigan.

“We are sharing with John some of our strategies to ensure we have access and affordability for our student population,” Haas said. “I am so pleased that he and his foundation from Consumers Energy want to invest in Grand Valley.”

The Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy will be able to do much more with its existing resources, and the augmentation of the new money will help many students, Haas said.

“We’re going to have, at the end of the day, to assist 400 students, which is a great number considering we’re unable to do it with the resources we have,” he said.

The Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy is aimed at helping students of color, Haas said, but all students as well. It provides students with academic and social support from faculty, staff and peer mentors, to help build community support among students through graduation.

With the expansion, the academy will be able to retain more students, and some of the money will go toward helping upperclassmen graduate.

“There’s some intent there for those dollars to as well help those students who really want to stay the course here,” Haas said.