GVSU teams up with local colleges to offer students a Grand Rapids tour

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Downtown Grand Rapids

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GVL/Archive Downtown Grand Rapids

Meghan McBrady

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Within the last few years, Grand Rapids has become known as a hotspot for arts and culture, the food industry and a variety of nightlife attractions.

As part of a campaign with Aquinas College, Calvin College, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and Grand Valley State University, students will have the chance to experience some of the downtown Grand Rapids attractions from Sept. 12-18.

Sponsored by the Grand Rapids mayor’s office, the College Week 2016 campaign invites students new to the area to use the “GOSite” in the Grand Rapids Art Museum to find discounts downtown and see what Grand Rapids attractions are offered year round.

“In some ways this campaign is more for freshmen students, as they are the biggest group that hasn’t been down there yet,” said Liz Collver assistant director of student life in civic engagement at GVSU. “However, I have also heard from a lot of older students who never left the Allendale Campus or there are those who don’t understand the overall bus system.”

Collver described the campaign as an introductory course for students to navigate Grand Rapids.

Students will ride the Rapid downtown via route 50, visit the “GOSite” in the Grand Rapids Art Museum for city information and will present their student ID card to attain the numerous discounts throughout the city.

Some of the establishments offering discounts for all the universities include The Bitter End Coffeehouse, One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom, the Actor’s Theatre and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

For businesses like Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern and Ferris Coffee & Nut Cafe, only some of the participating universities – in this case, GVSU – will be given a discount and students should check the offers on the GOSite website to find corresponding deals.

“The GOSite and its website will have more information about deals and where to go and to what businesses to experience in Grand Rapids,” Collver said. “Anything that is available for the visitors for Grand Rapids is available for our students as well.”

Brad Kosiba, assistant living center director at GVSU and a student in the College of Student Affairs Leadership, was part of the initial planning committee for the College Week program.

For him, he said the overall point of the campaign is to increase the student presence downtown while also benefiting the surrounding businesses.

“If you live on the Allendale Campus you will never go downtown,” he said. “With these different representations of colleges we are just trying to market this Grand Rapids experience to these college students and draw them out.

With the campaign starting next Monday, the students at GVSU or at one of the other universities will ultimately have the chance to hang out with their friends as they go downtown and learn more about the city.

“Personally, this is a great opportunity to just experience Grand Rapids,” Collver said. “It’s a fun aspect of buying from the locals, but also giving students from all the campuses an opportunity to be part of a bigger metropolitan area and get knowledgeable about the culture and history of the city as well.”