Becoming a ‘Laker for a lifetime’

Becoming a Laker for a lifetime

As a new freshman class starts its journey at Grand Valley State University, incoming students will probably hear the term “Laker for a lifetime” tossed around a lot. But what does that designation really mean?

When students come to GVSU, they are entering into a thriving student body filled with individuals who exemplify the “Laker effect,” a pun on the unbearable lake-effect snow the university inevitably experiences throughout the winter from nearby Lake Michigan. The Laker effect refers, in part, to a GVSU student’s positive impact on their community and field of study. Generally speaking, students here are held to high standards of achievement and are expected to make the spaces they occupy better through their academic and personal contributions.

An individual’s Laker effect is at the heart of what it means to be a Laker for a lifetime. When students graduate, they don’t just stop being Lakers, and they don’t just stop impacting the people with whom they come into contact or the fields in which they study and work. Instead, being a Laker for a lifetime means continually using the skills, training, and critical and creative thinking you develop as part of your liberal arts education to impact the world around you in a positive way in both your professional and personal pursuits. In short, being a Laker for a lifetime means spreading a positive Laker effect long after you graduate. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of a liberal arts education to equip students to answer the question, “How should we then live?” At GVSU, one possible answer is to live as a Laker for a lifetime and spread your own Laker effect, both during and after your time at the university. How you do that is up to you.

To advance its mission of spreading a positive Laker effect, GVSU announced the launch of an $85 million fundraising campaign designed to collect funds to improve students’ experiences at GVSU in a variety of ways. The money will be put toward initiatives labeled Opportunity, Achievement and Relevance. The objective is to set students up for success with scholarships, see them through their college careers successfully with a variety of funded programs, and ensure they and their GVSU programs are equipped to remain relevant to meet the needs of ever-changing communities and economies.

So, how can incoming freshmen work to spread their own Laker effects and become Lakers for a lifetime? New students should take advantage of the vast academic, professional and other resources GVSU has to offer to challenge their ways of thinking and expand their minds, improve and add on to their skills and qualifications, volunteer and work in their communities, and make connections that will impact their future careers. 

If you’re an incoming freshman, be sure to check out GVSU’s full list of transitions events and talk to your transitions leader or resident assistant to get connected with resources to help you succeed.

Good luck with your fall semester, and welcome to GVSU!