GVSU Alumni Association hosts GradFest for its newest members

GVL / Sara Carte - Seniors get their pictures taken at GradFest in the Kirkhof Center on Monday, Apr. 18, 2016.

Sara Carte

GVL / Sara Carte – Seniors get their pictures taken at GradFest in the Kirkhof Center on Monday, Apr. 18, 2016.

Shae Slaughter

Every semester, thousands of Grand Valley State University students graduate to move onto the next chapter of their lives. After spending a large amount of time at GVSU enrolled in classes, attending events and working toward their future, the university wishes to celebrate these graduates through a celebration known as GradFest.

The GradFest for the graduates of the fall 2016 semester will be Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Pere Marquette Room. There will also be an opportunity to attend GradFest on the Pew Campus in the DeVos Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1.

GradFest is organized mainly by the Alumni Association with some help from different partners across campus. The event occurs at the conclusion of both fall and winter semesters before commencement occurs. Organizers of GradFest hope to not only celebrate students, but also to provide opportunities for graduating students to access a wide variety of programs.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate with (graduating students) and to have all of the resources in one room so it’s easier for you,” said Courtney Geurink, assistant director of alumni relations.

Resources available at GradFest will include campus offices as well as some outside retailers. The Career Center, the Laker Store, Jostens and Liberty Mutual will be present, among others. The goal is to help those graduating to see all of the options they have.

“Financial aid will be there as well as the graduate school to talk about your future options,” Geurink said.

For those students looking to show some school spirit, Louie the Laker will be available on both days from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for photos. However, one of the biggest benefits for students attending GradFest includes the opportunity to purchase a cap and gown for their graduation ceremony. Attendees also have the option to get a professional picture taken in their cap and gown by Heather Dixon Photography for $1 for an instant print.

“I’m mostly looking forward to getting my cap and gown and making this whole graduation thing seem official,” said Kelsey Owens, a GVSU senior graduating after the fall 2016 semester. “It’s nice that they coordinate a couple days where we can stop in and get them at a discounted rate.”

Other staples of graduation including announcements and diploma frames will be available for purchase as well. Seniors and graduate students will also be presented with some cake and other treats before leaving school.

“Just come prepared to have fun and eat cake,” Geurink said.

The Alumni Association is also looking to welcome the new graduates into the organization. Every student who graduates from GVSU is automatically entered into the Alumni Association with no fee or requirements. At the event, the representatives will be available to give further information on how to become more involved in the association.

“It’s again a chance to welcome you into your new relationship with Grand Valley,” Geurink said.

Students attending are asked to bring their school ID and any money they may need for purchases.