Student organizations welcome freshmen to campus


Student organizations aimed to make GVSU a welcoming place for incoming freshmen during welcome week. GVL | KATHERINE VASIL

Rachel Matuszewski, News Writer

They’ve registered for classes, packed up their belongings and have stepped foot on Grand Valley State University’s campus. They are now officially Lakers. In the week before classes began, several organizations across campus set up events to help welcome new Lakers. These included Transitions, group exercise sneak peeks, express advising and more, all leading up to Campus Life Night, which was Aug. 25. 

GVSU welcomes incoming freshmen through their program, Transitions. Residential Assistants help students move into their housing areas, review rules and accompany students to several events throughout the week. Students learn more about university policy, dining areas, Blackboard information, campus life and receive a campus tour. The student orientation programs helps prepare students with how to navigate their first time at the university and set themselves up for success at GVSU. 

The Recreation Center also provided opportunities for students to try group exercise classes for free. They offered sneak peeks in Zumba, kickboxing and high intensity interval training classes. For more classes including yoga and spin, students can purchase a group exercise pass for the semester. There will also be a “try it before you buy it” week from Aug. 26-30 where students can experience the full workout class schedule for free. 

“After students have moved in, we wanted to invite them over to try out our Group Exercise classes for free, meet our instructors and offer an opportunity to meet other students in a fun, safe and active environment,” said Associate Director of Recreation and Wellness Amy Campbell. “We also want to encourage students to start healthy habits early and by offering group exercise classes the week of move in.” 

Express advising appointments were also available before the first week of classes. These appointments were in downtown Grand Rapids on the Pew Campus and held on a first-come, first-served basis. Faculty and professional advisers are open to serving students throughout the year by appointment, and can be found on the Allendale and Pew campuses. 

“We know that students sometimes have last-minute questions or want to adjust their schedules,” Associate Dean Joy Gianakura said. “Some have decided to change majors over the summer, or took classes this summer that might mean they need to make changes in the fall or winter. Our goal with walk-ins is to help students resolve any last minute questions or changes in order to start strong in the new academic year.” 

Finally, parking lot H was packed with students and nearly 400 GVSU student organizations on Campus Life Night. Leaders of student organizations introduced new students to numerous clubs and teams they could join. Outside of residential halls and classrooms, student organizations are the environment to find the college community many dream of. 

“Campus Life Night is one of the rare times when most of our student organizations, campus departments, nonprofits and local businesses are all in one place,” Assistant Director of Student Organizations Eric Stevens said. “It’s a one-stop shop for involvement and the perfect opportunity to start your year off right by getting involved. Students who are involved outside of the classroom are more likely to graduate and more likely to land their dream job.” 

A student organization, Young Life, also volunteered throughout the week by helping students move in before appearing at Campus Life Night. They understand the value in friendships and want students to feel welcome at GVSU. 

“If I had any advice for someone new to campus, it would be to know what type of person you want to be and where you want to go in life, then find a community on campus that is headed in that same direction,” Eastern Ottawa Young Life staff leader Ryan Elders said. “Your community will form you.”