Spirit Week celebrates Laker pride


GVSU Cheer joined the Marching Band, Laker Dance Team, and GVSU Pompon for Friday’s Spirit Showcase at Lubber’s Stadium (Courtesy / GVSU Cheer).

Katherine Arnold, Staff Reporter

This fall, Grand Valley State University saw a series of Spirit Week activities replace its more traditional Homecoming celebration. Because of COVID-19 and the regulations placed on indoor social gatherings, Campus Activities Board (CAB) put together a week-long celebration of what it means to be a part of the GVSU community. And most importantly, they worked to create an environment that was safe while still allowing students to experience community and togetherness.

CAB Director of Homecoming Brynn Barckholtz stressed the importance of campus events, especially when students have such limited options available to release their stress and need a much-anticipated moment of community entertainment.

“Now, more than ever, our students are living in a time of uncertainty,” Barckholtz said. “CAB’s hope is that spending a couple hours at one of our events will get them away from their academic and life stress and have some fun.”

The week started off with a night of GVSU trivia on Monday. Student Senate worked to bring a virtual trivia experience to the community, and provided a way for every student across both campuses to access a fun and fact-filled Kahoot experience, with the chance to win prizes for the top three contestants.

Tie-Dye Tuesday followed as an outdoor experience, with students being able to have fun creating their own tie-dye masterpieces with socks and t-shirts. The open space outside allowed students to stay safe while getting creative with their fellow Lakers.

Next up was a Spirit Search on Wednesday, a new activity pioneered from the thorough planning from Barckholtz and CAB graduate assistant Caroline Murray. Student organizations had the opportunity to contribute boxes, which were then hidden across the Allendale campus for participants to find. This event idea was certainly unique, and acted as another outdoor experience that allowed students to explore the campus at their own pace.

“Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to look for any box that they wanted,” Barckholtz said. “Lakers were super excited to see all of the gifts in the boxes, and based on this event’s success, I would totally do this again.”

Wednesday and Thursday featured the event “COVID Succs,” where the first 500 students who registered could pick out their own tiny succulent to take home. The succulents were provided by the Barbara Kindschi Greenhouse, and not only were the succulents adorable and tiny, but incorporated a creative theme for this year’s college student experience.

The week wrapped up with a grand finale of events on Thursday and Friday: the SMASH Mobile Rage Room, the Pep Rally performed by the Laker Marching Band, the Laker Pride Challenge and a virtual movie premiere.

The SMASH event offered stressed college students a way to let loose and vent their frustrations out. This interesting tent featured “smashing plates,” where students could write their feelings on a plate and then smash it into tiny, cathartic pieces.

The Pep Rally was an opportunity for students to have fun playing yard games while also enjoying the great musical talent of the Laker Marching Band, with a special appearance from the Pompon Team.

The last two events of the week were virtual experiences. The Laker Pride challenge took Spirit Week onto social media, where cheerful students could be seen posting pictures of themselves in GVSU blue with #LakerPride. And finally, a virtual film experience was offered all day Friday through a stream of IT: Chapter Two over campus wifi.

With such a range of events and weeks of planning, Barckholtz said it was a treat to be able to offer events for students to have some much-needed fun during the pandemic.

“I enjoyed planning all of the Spirit Week events because they were both safe and fun for students and helped them ease some of the stress of midterms,” said Barckholtz.