Student Life’s ‘Become More Guide’ helps Lakers learn about GVSU organizations, opportunities

Alyssa VanderWeg

Kelly Arrand, the student life promotions office coordinator at GVSU, refers to the “Become More Guide” as “a crash course on GVSU that is meant to help ease students through the transition into college by letting them know about student life activities and clubs they can join.”

The “Become More Guide” is a digital and print magazine designed by a graphic design student and put out by the Office of Student Life in the Kirkof Center. 

Five thousand guides are printed each year and handed out to students during Transitions and distributed to other school departments. The guide is split into sections that detail various activities and organizations that students can become a part of. 

Sections range from information about Community Service Learning Center volunteering to an overview of OrgSync, the service used to join and create clubs. It also explores fraternities and sororities, club sports, and student leadership in the form of the student senate.

The road to creating the “Become More Guide” began in 2002 with a similar print magazine called the “Do Something Guide,” which was then renamed “The Laker Guide” and then finally called the “Become More Guide” starting this year.

“‘Become More’ fits the name better,” Arrand said. “It’s not about just going out and doing something: It’s about helping students get to know the different resources that are out there for them.”

In 2016, Student Life unveiled “The Laker Guide” as a digital magazine with limited print copies. The draw was an invitation asking students to events and a quiz they could take after they read the magazine. If the questions were all answered correctly, the student would win a Student Life poster and would have to go into the Office of Student Life to pick it up. 

The problem was that the students would take the test, but then they wouldn’t come to pick up the poster. It was then that the promotions team members realized they needed to try something different. From this need came the marketing decision that created the tagline “Become More.”

LeaAnn Tibbe, the associate director of student life, said there were two influences on her endorsement of the “Become More” idea. One was her former employer, Meijer, which has multiple private brands under its name: Purple Cow ice cream, Del Monte, Betty Crocker, Sketchers and Great Value.

She said they had these brands but never advertised them—they only advertised the Meijer name and store as a whole where products could be bought for a good price. She applied this idea to Student Life, thinking that the promotions team should find a way to advertise Student Life as a resource that contained information and contacts for clubs, volunteering, fraternities and sororities, and student senate, rather than advertising events for them separately.

Her second influence came from a book by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why.” In the book, Sinek talks about an issue in which companies try to sell what they do and not why they do it. Tibbe realized that Student Life had fallen into that trap and that they needed to advertise why Student Life exists, not only what all of the programs within it do.

“Why I do this is because of 4,000 new students because I know they can become more than they could have without access to clubs and organizations and programs that will help them make lifelong friends, build a community and create a network of people to help them find their future careers,” Tibbe said.