News Briefs 9/13/20

Olivia Fellows, News Editor

GV COVID-19 campus data update

Since GVSU began conducting random testing on campus Aug. 27, the cumulative total COVID-19 cases since August 17 is 462. The university’s update of data used for this brief was from Friday, Sept. 11.

Through testing results, GVSU’s Virus Action team have so far reported 5 faculty/staff, 41 on-campus students, 228 “near-campus” students, and 188 students listed as “other” with positive COVID cases.

“Near-campus students” are those living within a mile of either the Allendale or Grand Rapids campus locations, when this can be determined. “Other students” includes students who live farther than a mile from the campus, and those whose location was not determined.

Testing and Incidence: GVSU/Spectrum Health’s testing program has performed 4,614 tests overall since August 21, for a cumulative positivity rate of 3.36% as of last week.

Laker Connections highlights inclusion programs on campus

GVSU prides itself in being an inclusive and diverse campus, and with diversity being one of the most important facets of colleges, creating new programs and bolstering old ones to encourage inclusion is more important than ever.

Some of the programs GVSU currently offers through Laker Connections are the Asian Student Achievement Program designed for students who identify as Asian, Black Excellence designed for students who identify as Black/African American, Black Male Scholars designed for students who identify as Black men in higher ed., Laker Familia designed for students who identify as Latino/a/x, and the Native Student Success Program designed for students who identify as Native American.

“Laker Connections was designed to create an environment at GVSU where students can achieve their full potential while being their full, authentic selves,” said Vice President for Inclusion and Student Success Marlene Kowalski-Braun. “Each of these programs are developed to serve the needs and interests of the specific student populations they serve while sharing four program pillars: community, leadership development, academic support, and passion, purpose, and career preparation.”

The Laker Connections program also highlighted the Queer Connections Mentoring Program, open to all students and designed to match LGBTQIA+ undergraduate students with faculty, staff, and graduate student mentors who also identify in the LGBTQIA+ community and are out about their identities. Mentors and mentees are matched, usually by late October, and then meet regularly over a six-month period. During this time, they build connections, explore resources, and work toward collaboratively-constructed goals.

GV named a 2021 ‘Best in the Midwest’ university by Princeton Review

Grand Valley State University has again been named a “Best in the Midwest” by Princeton Review, which recognizes colleges for academic excellence. GVSU is listed in the Midwest section of Princeton Review’s “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” which lists colleges in five zones; Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West and International.

GVSU is a comprehensive university offering high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley serves students from all across Michigan and dozens of other states and foreign countries. GV offers 95 undergraduate and 43 graduate degree programs and has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland.

The university offers programming and classes from outreach centers in Battle Creek, Detroit and Traverse City; the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute and the Muskegon Innovation Hub are located in Muskegon. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.

GV economics expert: recession recovery picks up speed

According to one GVSU economics expert, the national recession recovery is beginning to see some positive change. Especially in West Michigan, the economic bounce back is beginning to show its colors.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business, said the local index of new orders, the most important index, flipped to positive for the first time in several months. Long surveyed local business leaders and his findings are based on data collected during the last two weeks of August.

Some local business owners report having difficulty finding enough workers, especially workers with specific skills. Long said while some firms are still struggling, others are already back at full capacity.

“If this trend continues, our unemployment rates will continue to fall,” Long said. “That said, the recovery from every recession in recent memory has begun with a surge in pent-up demand. After the initial surge, we begin to see the permanent damage from the recession.”

Long said pending a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, the current positive numbers should improve a little more for September. He added it will be difficult to know where the economy is headed until the November elections are done.