News Briefs 10/22

Symposium to address Open Educational Resources

Grand Valley State University will host “Open GVSU Symposium” to discuss access to information for International Open Access Week Oct. 21-27. The symposium will discuss Open Educational Resources (OER), which are free, openly licensed materials.

The symposium will include round table discussions with speakers from GVSU, representing departments from University Libraries, Kirkhof College of Nursing, Seidman College of Business and others. Topics will cover privacy, ethics, sustainability and accessibility surrounding scholarly journals, with some speakers discussing a healthcare angle.

A fall semester survey found that out of 412 GVSU students, 78 percent skipped buying a textbook due to costs and 95 percent of students who didn’t buy a textbook were concerned about their grades in that course. The average cost of textbooks per semester at GVSU is $330. The symposium aims to address these issues and educate students about open resources.

“Students are struggling and are painfully aware that their financial situation may not set them up for success,” said Student Senate President Eric-John Szczepaniak. “It is up to us to change that.”

The Open GVSU Symposium will be held Thursday, Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library Room 030. Those interested in attending should register online. 

GV students participate in Make a Difference Day

On Saturday, Oct. 12, more than 250 students from both GVSU and Grand Rapids Community College volunteered for Make a Difference Day. Sponsored by GVSU’s Community Service Learning Center, Make a Difference Day has been held for more than 20 years, allowing students to volunteer with the local community.

This year, students worked with the Children’s Advocacy Center, Kent County Parks and the Refugee Education Center, among others. Volunteers also cleaned Townsend Park in Rockford, prepared lunches at Kids Food Basket and gardened with Urban Roots, totaling 1,160 hours of community service.

Keynote speaker Sonya Hernandez, assistant director for the GRCC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, began the day with her message, “The Power of Caring.” Students were then shuttled around Grand Rapids to volunteer until 3 p.m.

Speaker, author visits GV to address criminal justice reform

Judicial reform advocate, author and nonprofit founder Jennifer Thompson visited GVSU Wednesday, Oct. 16 to discuss criminal justice reform. After being attacked in 1984, Thompson identified her attacker and sent him to prison for life. Eleven years later, DNA testing proved him innocent.

She has since become an advocate for criminal justice reform. She co-authored the book “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption” and is the founder and board chair of Healing Justice, a nonprofit that works with those who were wrongfully convicted. Her work aims to help victims and fight for reform to avoid more wrongful convictions.