Disney College Program presents magical opportunity to GVSU students

Courtesy / Amber Cullison
GVSU student Amber Cullison posing after her completion of the Disney College Program

Courtesy / Amber Cullison GVSU student Amber Cullison posing after her completion of the Disney College Program

Paige Platte

A Disney College Program recruiter spread the magic of Disney across an audience of 85 Grand Valley State University students Tuesday during program presentations from 1 and 5p.m. in the Kirkhof center.

“We are a company based entirely on making people happy,” said Marcie Lemke, a recruiter for the Disney College Program. “This program has changed the lives of over 100,000 students across the world.”

Lemke started her journey with Disney as a sophomore in college at Central Michigan University when she was recruited for the college program.

“I had never been to Walt Disney World before, and it turned out to be more than a just a job but an experience,” Lemke said.
Lemke’s experience with the Disney College Program led to a professional job offer immediately following her undergraduate graduation at CMU. She now recruits for Disney programs across the country in the greater Chicago area, Michigan and Hawaii.

Lemke told the audience that the program provides the ability to meet and learn with leaders throughout the company.

GVSU campus representatives of the Disney College Program opened themselves up and shared their most memorable experiences of the program. “Through the learning opportunities and being able to go behind the scenes, it really made me fall in love with Disney,” said Hannah Henson, Disney College Program Representative.

Henson was able to receive 6 credits towards her hospitality and tourism management major in addition to fulfilling one of the internships required for her degree. Among her favorite Dinsey College Program moments were the photo scavenger hunts and volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The program is open to all majors including GVSU Disney College Program campus representative Courtney Vetter, who found her internship with Disney working in a restaurant in Magic Kingdom to provide her with experience for her future in Elementary education.

“Talking to kids everyday about things like their favorite characters or what they did that day will translate to running my classroom in the future,” Vetter said.

The internship is also paid, with hourly rates ranging from $7.25 to $11 depending on the level of responsibility for the specific job and the cost of living at the location. Walt Disney World wages are slightly lower than Disneyland Resort as the cost of living in Florida is significantly lower than California.

Program representative Amber Cullison said she appreciated the cash for her work, and after working 40-45 hours a week during her semester in Disney’s Animal Kingdown, she was able to purchase a new computer with her savings.

“Earning was an important component, you get paid and it’s something tangible you get out of the program in addition to all of the magical experiences,” Cullison said.

Students are not only paid and given behind the scenes opportunities, they also receive free park admission. The free admission is extended to the friends and family of those in the program as well.

For students who complete the program, Lemke said the experience “opens the door for over 300 professional internships.”
Students are given the choice to apply for internships at either Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida or Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Cali.

Interested in signing up? Visit http://www.gvsu.edu/ccpsadvising/disney-college-program-79.htm for more information.

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