News briefs 8/28/17

GV students help send bean bag chair into space

Grand Valley State University students Matt MacGregor and Zach Darmofal teamed up with three other Michigan college students and Comfort Research to send a 2.27-pound “Big Joe” bean bag chair into space.

The students developed a plan to launch the chair using a weather balloon. Also attached to the rig were GPS trackers, a parachute and a radar drone.

The chair reached 105,000 feet until the weather balloon popped and the chair began plummeting to the earth. The chair survived traveling 70 mph and temperatures of negative 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using the GPS tracking devices attached to the chair, the students were able to locate where it landed in the middle of a cornfield in Ionia County.

The summer interns sought to find a way to send the chair developed by Comfort Research into space to show how college students can be in charge of ambitious and innovative activities.

Vote on Grand Rapids drone program scheduled for September

Use of a drone program for the Grand Rapids Fire Department will be voted on by the Grand Rapids City Commission Tuesday, Sept. 12.

If approved, Grand Rapids would be the third fire department in Michigan to adopt a drone program. The other fire departments with drone programs are Big Rapids and Oakland.

The drone would be used for detecting “hot spots” in a fire and investigating the causes of fires. Ultimately, the use of the drone would be to help put fewer firefighters at risk.

GV president serves ice cream, takes pictures with freshman students during move-in

Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas and his wife, Marcia Haas, served ice cream and took pictures with new students and their families during freshman move-in Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The president was sporting a GVSU “staff” T-shirt outside Kleiner Commons, handing out ice cream bars in the 66-degree weather from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The event was livestreamed on Facebook and was commented on by many online who called the president “down-to-earth” and “a cool guy.”

Grand Haven Musical Fountain gets upgraded by GV students

Grand Valley State University engineering students have opted to spend their summer upgrading the Grand Haven Musical Fountain for their senior projects. The fountain now features new water formations that have not been added since the fountain was built in 1962.

The fountain is a historic landmark that features synchronized water, light and musical shows daily at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day, as well as Fridays and Saturdays in May and September. 

William Morris Booth, a local engineer, designed the fountain and was inspired by a Przystawic musical fountain show in Germany. According to the Grand Haven Musical Fountain website, this fountain was the largest musical fountain in the world until 1998, when the Bellagio Fountains were built in Las Vegas.

Princeton Review names GV a 2018 ‘Best Regional College’

The New York-based education company, the Princeton Review, has named Grand Valley State University a “best regional college” among 382 universities in the U.S.

GVSU has received honors from the Princeton Review many times in the past, including being one of the “best in the Midwest” colleges and being named a “green college” by the company for seven straight years in a row.

The Princeton Review puts out a yearly list of “best” colleges in the U.S. based on statistical data and student opinions of the colleges.