GVSU welcomes GV360 technology to help student-athletes

Jacob Arvidson

Grand Valley State student-athletes now have the playbook to collegiate success at their fingertips.

GV360 is a digital technology platform designed specifically to pool information together into one central location for GVSU’s student-athletes. The resources will help promote success on the field, in the classroom and in life.

GVSU assistant athletic director Keri Becker is a firm believer in the program.

“We have so many great resources on this campus,” she said. “We can tell the student-athletes about them and we can give them handouts, but I think we’ll be able to connect them to the resources they need when they need them the most, at the time that they need them. That’s the key.”

There were certain aspects of the platform that were especially attractive to GVSU.

“Being fully customizable was something that was appealing to us,” she said. “If we want the student-athletes to get four reminders throughout the year about the effects of alcohol on athletic performance, we can set it up that way.”

This customization ability allows GVSU to provide its student-athletes with player-specific articles. GV360 offers student-athletes a chance to connect with related groups on campus or provides links to other similar articles they may be interested in reading.

The required readings and videos are short and to the point, so they keep attention long enough to get the desired message across. The experience is also private — each student-athlete has the capability to work through the app on their own, Becker said.

“Since the platform is so easily accessible, they can go through these modules from the comfort of their own dorm, en route to away games, or whenever is most convenient for them,” said Luciano Gomez, account director at Evolution Labs, Inc. “Coaches love this aspect as well, as they often complain about losing practice time to guest speakers and events which can now be moved to our digital platform.”

Having a central information source like GV360 makes life easier for all parties.

“We don’t have the time, nor the money, to deliver everything to our student-athletes that we would love to,” Becker said. “All the resources are out there. It’s a matter of connecting the student-athletes to them. There is a topic library that has everything from study skills, to NCAA compliance to social media.”

The GV360 platform can be accessed by student-athletes through the website or through the interactive app. The program is made possible through partnership with Evolution Labs’ SA360 platform, GVSU simply personalized the name.

Evolution Labs, Inc. is a company dedicated to keeping up with technology that helps mold the lives of student-athletes. The company creates software to help promote student success.

“SA360 is designed to support and extend student-athlete wellness, leadership and good citizenship throughout their collegiate career,” Gomez said. “Student-athletes will have 24/7 access to the best articles, videos and interactive activities written, and created specifically for student-athletes, touching on all the critical issues facing intercollegiate athletics.”

Something about the way Evolution Labs, Inc. worded its promotion caught the eye of GVSU Athletic Director Tim Selgo.

“It made me do a double-take,” he said. “I get a lot of emails. Everyone has the latest and greatest program for Grand Valley to try. I realized just by the wording of this email that these people knew what they were talking about.”

Selgo and Becker decided to follow up with Evolution Labs to see if the two parties could collaborate.

“It was evident in the first conversation we had with them,” Selgo said. “These people have been on a college campus before. They know the issues student athletes face.”

The first contact with Evolution Labs, Inc. came in June 2015 and from there, GVSU began its implementation process.

“We have an account management team working full time to launch, manage and optimize the program for student-athletes, keeping the bulk of the work on our plate,” Gomez said.

The challenge now falls on GVSU to keep its student-athletes engaged.

“It’s just a matter of a communication plan to continue to reinforce, ‘Hey, go to it,’” Becker said. “The other key to implementation is the involvement of our Student Advisory Council.”

The S.A.C. has representatives from every athletic team. The feedback received at monthly S.A.C. meetings will also help determine the content students receive through GV360.

This year, GV360 is keying in on alcohol awareness and mental health, Becker said.

“Those are the things that are driving what we’re going to require in terms of topics,” she said. “However, they can do a search in the library and read articles on all types of things.”

The next step for GV360 is to be incorporated into other university programs.

“We’re going to collaborate on some things and really bring in a little bit more,” Becker said. “We want to make this a robust application that has the right messaging we want, with the right information getting to our student athletes.”