Alumni team to take part in River Bank Run

GVL/Courtesy - Jeff Dykehouse
River Bank Run Alumni Team (2014)

GVL/Courtesy – Jeff Dykehouse River Bank Run Alumni Team (2014)

Maddie Forshee

The Grand Valley State University Alumni Association works with GVSU alumni to engage in events in their local communities, whether it is through volunteer work or social events.

This spring, the Alumni Association has created a team of GVSU alumni, faculty, staff and students to compete in the Fifth Third River Bank Run in downtown Grand Rapids.

The run, taking place on May 9, includes a 5k community walk, a 10k run and a 25k run and wheelchair/cycle race. The run has been taking place for 38 years and is expected to host 21,000 participants this year, GVSU’s Laker for a Lifetime team included.

This is the third year in a row that the Alumni Association has had a team in the River Bank Run, and will have 70 team members running for them this year. The team was developed in 2013 to provide an opportunity for current and graduated Lakers and friends to support each other during the run, all while raising money for university students.

Each team member, called a FUNDracer, gets a fundraising pages on the team page through the Alumni Association’s website. There, they can upload a photo of themselves, enter personal information and share with people why they are running or walking for GVSU.

The Laker for a Lifetime team is raising funds to go toward the Student Support Fund, an emergency scholarship fund awarded to students facing extreme financial difficulties that could prevent them from graduating.

“Every student deserves to have the opportunity to succeed,” said Abigayle Sloan, volunteer coordinator for the Alumni Association. “It is important for us to support the students who are successful and working hard toward their degree.”

This is the first year that the Alumni Association is donating to that particular fund. In previous years, the donations have gone toward the more general Grand Valley Fund.

The Alumni Association has also changed their goal for this year – they are aiming to raise $10,000 for the Student Support Fund. The association has different incentives set for multiple goals, the biggest of which will happen when the team collectively raises $10,000. If that goal is met, Chris Barbee, director of alumni relations, will shave the university’s logo onto the back of his head.

That same day, the Alumni Association is hosting a race party from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the DeVos parking lot on the Pew Campus for the runners or anyone who wants to support them, or for those who couldn’t attend the run. Attendees of the party will be close to the course, so they will be able to cheer on runners as they go by.

“It’s a great spot to cheer on our team who are in the last mile or two of their race,” Sloan said. “It’s a point in the course when you need the most encouragement.”

While the team is no longer open for people to sign up, they are always looking for people to help them at their spirit station – a part of the event that allows teams to have stations cheering on their respective teams. Individuals will be able to vote for the best spirit station after the run. The team with the most votes will win money to go toward their cause.

The Alumni Association is encouraging spectators and students alike to come to the race party on the day of the race. For more information about the River Bank Run and how to get involved, visit