Nontraditional week nods to other GV students

Courtesy Photo /
Marty Litherland, director of the Traverse City Campus

Courtesy Photo / Marty Litherland, director of the Traverse City Campus

Anya Zentmeyer

Primarily defined by age – 24 years or older – nontraditional students make up 14 percent of Grand Valley State University’s undergraduate population, or 3,034 students total. During the past five days, Nontraditional Student Recognition Week has brought these students into the spotlight.

“Nontraditional Student Recognition Week banners were hung on every Grand Valley Campus and expectations of the Nontraditional Student Committee were high,” said Senior Academic Adviser Jan Robinson of the CLAS Academic Advising Center. “We had more sponsors across campus which enabled us to plan differently this year.”

Undergraduate students ages 24 and older received e-mails with the week’s events geared toward nontraditional students, including two Grab-n-go Brunches in the Kirkhof Center and three Meet and Greet events hosted by the Women’s Center, Holland Meijer Campus and GVSU’s Muskegon campus.

The number of nontraditional students has remained fairly consistent for five years, but Marty Litherland, director of the Traverse City Campus and leader of the Nontraditional Student Committee at GVSU, said the nontraditional male to female ratio has reached a 50:50 equilibrium, whereas in past years about 65 percent of students were female.

In addition, more nontraditional students have switched from part-time to full-time status – 75 percent dropped to only 50 percent part-time students.

“We believe that more men attending, and more full-time students could be a result of weak economic times,” Litherland said. “It could also be influenced by the increase in veterans attending GVSU.”

Litherland said nontraditional students have such day jobs as employees, spouses, parents, caretakers and community leaders with the role of college student sometimes taking a secondary role in their lives.

“They don’t always have time to experience all of the opportunities available to them across campus as they are generally very focused on their academic experience,” she said.

Litherland added the non-traditional student website,, details more special events and services for non-traditional students.

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