GVS{You} Week, Founders Day join hands in celebrating GV growth

GVL / Dan Pacheco

GVL / Dan Pacheco

Nick Moran

In a collaboration between Grand Valley State University’s Student Alumni Association, Office of Student Life and Laker for a Lifetime, GVS{You} Week and Founders Day shared a week of celebration together for the first time. In creating the collaboration, Associate Director of Student Life LeaAnn Tibbe said that the change provided all involved to combine the events and create a week full of thankfulness.

Kicking on with GVS{You} Week’s Laker Pride Day on Monday, Oct. 22, the week is all about thanking the proud donors that continue to support GVSU. 

“I love getting to connect with students, giving them opportunities to learn about the importance of our donors, and making it fun and interactive,” Rowan said. “If you look around at the campus building you are in or the student resource you are using, it was most likely made possible by donors.”

Events specific to GVS{You} Week also included “Get the Scoop on Philanthropy,” which invited students to meet donors, have ice cream and do trivia on the role of philanthropy at GVSU. On Thursday, tables were set up downtown on the Pew Campus inviting students to personally write letters to thank donors for their contributions

“My favorite moment was the trivia portion at Get the Scoop,” Rowan said. “I think it surprised a lot of students to learn how many people give back to Grand Valley and have supported the development of many of the resources we have on campus.”

Thursday’s festivities also included a celebration of Founders Day, which is a day dedicated to remembering the founding 282 members of GVSU. Tibbe’s team invited students to make their own cookies, take photos with props and take home a collectible throwback sticker. For Laker Traditions Team Event Coordinator Amy Blaker, who stood beside the Cook Carillon Tower encouraging students to decorate cookies, the event not only reminds students of the founders’ contributions, but encourages community building. 

“I want (students) to feel like they’re a part of GVSU,” Blaker said. “It’s not just coming and learning stuff… Here, they can just come, eat something and have fun — just like a regular party.”

Tibbe said that while the creation of GVSU was initially built upon Bill Seidman’s vision, there is a vast community of people — past and present — that have supported the university’s growth. The combination of GVS{You} Week and Founders Day this year emphasized that very idea of coming together to create GVSU.

“I would hope that (students) feel a sense of Grand Valley pride – that would be the biggest thing for me,” Tibbe said. “That we are part of this institution and we are celebrating it.”

If students left the event appreciating those who built the university a little more, Tibbe said the week would be a success. Looking back on the founders’ original vision and the support of donors, Tibbe said that GVSU’s growth is a testament to serving the needs of Allendale and Grand Rapids and fulfilling the founder’s aspirations. 

“I would think that (the founders) would be really proud of where Grand Valley has come because it is a very diverse institution,” Tibbe said. “It’s not just your liberal arts and sciences, it’s your health, business and engineering. So, we have really met all of the needs of the growing community.”