Finding their way

Eva Perron

All first year students, including transferees, of Grand Valley State University are once again welcomed to take part in the biannual First Year Leadership Experience.

Within this six-week program, students may assimilate skills regarding leadership and productivity within the Laker community.

The series kicks off Monday, Feb. 6, in Room 2263 in the Kirkhof Center, and will be continued at the same time and place over an extended period. While highlighting individual concepts in leadership, discussions will last between 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m..

“It’s all about first year and transfer students,” said Julia Sturvist, a leadership intern for the Office of Student Life. “This program kick starts their abilities as leaders and enforces a sense of community.”

Designed exclusively for incoming students, the First Year Leadership Experience applies newcomer’s previous leadership roles into a higher education setting. 

“Everybody has something to offer,” said Chase Dolan, a graduate assistant for the OSL. “By taking the step to be in this program, they’re taking that first step, and I want them to have confidence in taking that next step and keep it going from there.”

Whether a student possess experience as a leader or is simply seeking a new beginning, this experience teaches how to empower and make change on and off campus. 

“A lot of students come in having previous leadership experience and don’t really know what to do with it,” Sturvist said. 

Students are able to “enhance their abilities” and become engaged at GVSU throughout the series. Discussions in diversity, inclusion, decision-making, and confidence are hoped to better guide students on their paths to becoming authoritative figures.

Finding knowledge and building on it is of most importance. 

“We want to create a self-awareness, so that students know who they are because that’s the first step in being able to lead others,” Dolan said. Out of all things, confidence is the key concept students are hoped to gain.

Throughout the span of the program, approximately 8 organizations will donate their time and efforts in educating participants, including Greek life, Laker Traditions, study abroad, Alternative Breaks, student senate and others.

 This opportunity is provided so that students may “find their niche” here at Grand Valley.

Other upcoming Laker Leadership Programs to look forward to include the StrengthsQuest Series and the Leadership Summit. For more information on the First Year Leadership Experience, please visit: