News briefs 9/20/20


GVL / Meghan Landgren

Olivia Fellows, News Editor

GV COVID-19 campus data update

Since GVSU made the switch to reporting active cases, the current total of active COVID-19 cases is 359. The university’s update of data used for this brief was from Friday, Sept. 18.

Through testing results, GVSU’s Virus Action team has so far reported 2 faculty/staff, 50 on-campus students, 256 “off-campus Ottawa” students, and 26 “off-campus Kent” students, 24 “off-campus other” students with active COVID-19 cases.

“Current active cases” is the count of positive cases reported to the Virus Action Team over the past ten days.  This is an estimate of those currently in isolation, assuming a ten-day symptomatic period following the reporting of a positive test result. Actual periods of isolation are specific to the individual and determined by the county health department.

Testing and Incidence: GVSU’s own testing program has performed 7,238 tests overall since August 21, for a positivity rate of 3.40% from the latest update as of last week. 

Student veterans honor Mantella  

This week, chapter members recognized President Philomena V. Mantella for her commitment to student veterans with a gift of a traditional military shadowbox, presented as an honorary expression of gratitude for excellence in service.

Student veteran Cameron Zbikowski served eight years in the Navy, from 2005-2013, including a tour in Iraq. The 2nd Class Petty Officer served at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, the same airbase that was recently bombed by Syria.

Zbikowski, one of nearly 400 student veterans on campus, said the university’s wide range of support programs helped him transition to college life. He said he is especially grateful to be a Laker in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through the CARES Act and hardship grants, Grand Valley has helped student veterans directly impacted by COVID-19, helping them continue their education without the financial stress that has plagued so many due to unemployment and mounting bills,” Zbikowski said. “”President Mantella has supported Laker vets in a variety of ways, the most important was the creation of the military and veteran resource manager position filled by Jill Hinton Wolfe.”

Wolfe, ’01, an Army veteran, began her role at GVSU in July. As GVSU’s first military and veteran resource manager, she provides additional support to military-connected students and dependents while expanding GVSU’s visibility, partnerships and pipelines within the community.

In 2019, Grand Valley was again named as a gold level “military friendly” university by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. It’s the fifth year the university has achieved that status. This week, in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges rankings, GVSU is listed as a Best for Veterans among Midwest universities.

GV software package helping to foster student success online

Navigate, software that assists students with making appointments on campus, goes beyond that functionality and has become a key tool for student success and retention.

For academic advisors and faculty members, Navigate syncs with the Outlook calendar function and allows users to view student information on one platform. Suzeanne Benet, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said this efficient access allows for better student support.

“No one has to play detective to find out who else is involved with the student to figure out how to best get them help,” Benet said. “The information is all there. The more we know about how a student is doing in real-time, the better we can support them.”

Available now to students and faculty members, Navigate will continue to be implemented throughout campus offices next year.