I Am Grand Valley 2014 kicks off

Courtesy / Office of Student Life
2012 I am Grand Valley Reception.

Courtesy / Office of Student Life 2012 I am Grand Valley Reception.

Ben Glick

The Office of Student Life is readying to kick off “I am Grand Valley,” an annual recognition program that distinguishes student leaders over the past academic year.

While the actual event doesn’t occur until Jan. 14 during Campus Leadership week, the nomination process opens Oct. 1 and will close Dec. 5.

Valerie Guzman, assistant director of Student Life for Leadership and Service Initiatives, coordinated efforts around I am Grand Valley and Campus Leadership week.

“I am Grand Valley is meant for students who display and utilize strong leadership skills that contribute to the campus and beyond,” she said.

These areas are not excluded to only academic achievements, but to student employees, organization leaders and resident assistants.

On Jan. 14, students who accept a nomination will gather for an informal reception in the Grand River Room in the Kirkhof Center to receive nomination materials. These include an exclusive “I am Grand Valley” t-shirt and a personalized certificate.

Brenden Gallagher is a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, and has also helped to organize the event.

“We really reach out to faculty and staff members to recognize students who they’re working with to learn about some of the positive things that they’re doing on campus,” he said. “It could be academics. It could be being involved with an organization. It could be getting involved with community service. It’s really just depending on whatever they’re doing positively they could be recognized for.”

I am Grand Valley started in 2003 and has honored thousands of students in the past decade. Guzman said that in the 2013-2014 academic year alone, 1,500 students were nominated.

“While many student leadership awards are competitive, and rightfully so, I am Grand Valley is meant to touch the lives of our everyday student leaders, whether they hold a prestigious leadership position or not,” she said.

Besides providing a time to recognize the accomplishments of what students have worked on during the year, the reception is also a time for them to reflect and have a good time, Gallagher said.

“It’s just one of those things where it’s a fun time. It’s nice to bring everyone together and acknowledge that we’re all doing awesome things,” he said.

While I am Grand Valley will be accepting nominations for the awards, it is also looking for more students to get involved with the event in hopes that they might also get involved with leadership programs GVSU offers.

“This is definitely a campus wide thing,” Gallagher said. “We want as many people as possible to be aware of what’s going on around campus and be able to participate. So really it’s just anybody and everybody who wants to get involved in really encouraging students to be involved.”

I am Grand Valley is a part of the larger Campus Leadership Week that will be starting on Jan. 12.

“The I am Grand Valley Leadership Reception is the signature event of CLW,” Guzman said. “CLW simply promotes leadership in various forms of campus life to create momentum and inspire campus to put their talents to work in whatever facet they are passionate about.”

Gallagher said the event will help to bring the GVSU community together.

“It’s nice to give recognition to people who are doing positive things in the community,” Gallagher said. “I think that strengthens the Grand Valley community. (It) allows for students to get together and really acknowledge and talk about the things that they’re doing.”

Guzman said she hopes, because of the event, students will continue to develop leadership skills and are inspired to create a positive impact beyond GVSU.

“It’s such a feel-good event that has real meaning,” she said. “It’s all rooted in the awesome contributions of our students,and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it and let our students know how valued they are.”

For more information on the event, visit http://www.gvsu.edu/iamgv/.