Fall 2021 semester-in-review: Lanthorn News


GVL / Lauren Seymour

GV looks to the future as vaccine mandate deadline passes

GVL Archives

Students, faculty and staff attending or employed at Grand Valley State University are now required to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, hold a postponement or exemption in order to be in compliance with the university’s vaccine mandate. As of Oct. 15, the university will begin contacting those who are not in compliance.

As of Thursday, Oct. 14, 82% of all faculty and staff as well as 78% of students have been reported on their daily self-assessment that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In total, about 93% of the campus community is in compliance with the vaccine mandate.

Some students, staff, and faculty have been granted exemptions or postponements from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Of the roughly 10% of the GVSU community who were reported exempt, according to the GVSU Virus Action Team, 90% of recipients received a religious exemption.

To further explore Lauren Formosa’s coverage of the GVSU vaccine mandate, click here

Lakers face impacts of pandemic on life after graduation

GVL / Meghan Landgren

Students, faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University have seen a return to some normalcy on campus. Along with masks and mandatory vaccines, the GVSU community has returned to in-person classes, sports and activities on campus.

The graduation ceremony is one important tradition for all college students- and GVSU students are no exception. In-person commencement is returning this semester. Students are allowed to bring up to four guests and must be masked per the GVSU alert level two guidelines. While there is no procession, students will be able to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas in person.

While there is a lot to celebrate for graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted plans beyond graduation as Lakers leave the university.

To further explore Grace Smith’s dive into the impact of the ongoing global pandemic, click here


GV students work through vaccine exemptions

Courtesy to GVSU

In light of Grand Valley State University’s vaccine mandate, the university is offering religious and medical exemptions for those who may need it. In order for individuals to receive these exemptions, they will have to fill out the appropriate form that can be found on the Lakers Together website.

The deadline for the GVSU community to be fully vaccinated is Sept. 30, while exemptions must be submitted by Sept. 15. In order to be granted an exemption or postponement for religious or medical reasons, individuals must write why they wish to receive an exemption for either reason. In some cases, additional documentation may be required, according to the Lakers Together website.

The Virus Action Team (VAT) said via email that individuals who have applied for vaccination exemptions should receive responses on their approval or rejection of the exemption in five to seven business days. The VAT attributes the requirement of vaccination or getting an exemption as an important step in controlling COVID-19 especially with the spread of the Delta variant.

To read more of Elizabeth Schanz’s coverage of vaccine exemptions, click here

GV signs second partnership with HBCU

GVL / Lauren Seymour

Grand Valley State University’s Dean of Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, Paul Plotkowski, and Vice President of Enrollment Development, B. Donta Truss, met with Saint Augustine’s University (SAU), to sign an agreement offering an opportunity for advanced computing and engineering students from the school to come to GVSU and further their education.

Located in North Carolina, SAU is a Historically Black University, making this the second of GVSU’s partnerships with Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs). Plotkowski said that through partnerships like this, GVSU can open up avenues for students that weren’t previously accessible and do the best possible for students at both universities.

“Particularly with smaller HBCUs, they have tremendous strength in supporting students to be successful, from very diverse and frequently lower economic situations,” Plotowski said. “They can’t offer every educational opportunity that they might like to their students. Programs, like engineering, can be very expensive to run.”

To read more of Emma Armijo’s coverage of GVSU’s partnership with SAU, click here.

GV students and VAT weigh in on winter masking

Courtesy / MLive

Grand Valley State University’s GVSU Alert Level for COVID-19 remained at level two throughout the fall semester, indicating a “medium alert” level. As the winter semester approaches, GVSU students are beginning to question whether the mask mandate will remain in effect.

The Virus Action Team (VAT) has yet to make a decision on upcoming regulations, according to VAT Associate Director of News Dottie Barnes.

“There is no way to predict right now whether face coverings will be required in January,” Barnes said. “Grand Valley’s face covering policy is tied to the GVSU Alert Level. Each alert level includes several key indicators, like community spread of the virus.”

To read more of Payton Brazzil’s coverage of GVSU’s health and safety guidelines in the upcoming winter semester, click here

Global supply chain disruptions impact the GV community

Courtesy / Flickr

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages and increased prices of products such as food, gas and household items have caused distress for people around the world. These stressors are largely due to issues in the supply chain industry, which is facing large demand post-COVID-19 lockdown.

The Grand Valley State University community is no exception to these struggles, as business owners and students face difficulties related to these supply chain shortages.

The industry is taking a big economic hit as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the world. It’s estimated that global disruptions within the industry were up 638% during the first half of 2021, almost half of which occurred in North America.

To read more of Gillian Hanton’s coverage of the global supply chain disruptions, click here

Students concerned with Aramark’s history and GV’s campus dining options

Courtesy / Aramark Corporation

Since 2001, Grand Valley State University has contracted its campus dining service to a Philadelphia-based food service provider, the Aramark Corporation. Aramark is responsible for supplying food service labor to GVSU, and the company also determines meal choices and operational strategies for the university’s campus dining program.

According to a contract between the University and Aramark has been renewed several times, most recently in 2019. The contract, signed in February of 2019, states that the agreement shall continue through June 30, 2028, unless terminated by the university in accordance with the agreement.

In the past, Aramark has been criticized for its ties to prisons, contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and reportedly sub-par food quality and unsanitary kitchen conditions. Some GVSU students, including student-led groups like Students for Food Sovereignty (SFS) have called for the university to end their contract with Aramark and switch to a self-operated dining service model.

To read more of Jacob DeWeerd’s coverage of Aramark’s history as a food service provider, click here

Developing story: Two GV student deaths in October

GVL Archives

On Thursday, Oct 14, emergency responders were dispatched to Pere Marquette beach in Muskegon following reports that a swimmer was struggling in the rip currents of Lake Michigan.

Several hours later, the U.S. Coast Guard found the body of Taleah Lowe, an 18-year-old Grand Valley State University student.

GVSU students were notified via email on Oct. 15. On Oct. 19, the Grand Valley Police Department shared two posts on social media with information about the Muskegon Police Department report.

To read more of Hanna Halstead and News Editor Audrey Whitaker’s coverage of the two student deaths in October, click here

Midterms present new challenges as students return to in-person exams

GVL / Lauren Seymour

Most college students will be able to tell people that burnout hits very hard by the time that midterms start. Everyone is exhausted, stressed and worried about their grades.

Responses to a Lanthorn survey showed that over half of the Grand Valley State University students who responded feel more confident going into midterms in their in-person classes than they felt online in previous semesters.

However, the way that students study has changed significantly since the transition to online learning and again from the move back to the physical classroom. Students are having to relearn how to study for in-person learning.

To read more of Kay Keller’s coverage of the return to in-person learning, click here

Student senators investigate GV’s latest tuition hike

GVL / Sydney Lim

Representatives of Grand Valley State University’s administration appeared before the university’s Student Senate on Sept. 23 to offer reasoning and clarity behind its decision to raise student tuition by 2.4% for the 2021-22 academic year.

The increase, costing students an additional $158 per semester, continues the series of steady increases in student tuition each year. University officials presenting at the Senate meeting placed responsibility for the tuition hike on the state government.

“The systematic underinvestment by the state makes tuition need to be the bigger contribution to make this university what it is today,” Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Sanial said.

To read more of Josh Albutrus’s coverage of GVSU’s student senate, click here

GV mandates COVID-19 vaccine for students, faculty, staff as fall semester approaches

GVL/Katherine Vasile

Grand Valley State University announced that students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as the university preps for the fall semester.

In an email sent to the GVSU community on Friday, Aug. 1, president Philomena Mantella said that in anticipation of FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccination in early September, GVSU will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated by Sept. 30.

There will be exemptions for medical and religious reasons, however, those who remain unvaccinated will be tested weekly for COVID-19, according to Mantella’s email.

Greg Sanial, vice president for Finance and Administration and Virus Action Team director said that consequences for those who remain unvaccinated without medical or religious exemptions are not yet finalized.

To read more of News Editor Audrey Whitaker’s coverage of GVSU’s vaccine mandate, click here

Campus Dining holds forum for student feedback

GVL Archives

This past Tuesday, campus dining held a Food Committee meeting in Kirkhof for any student to participate in. The meeting sparked productive, yet difficult, dialogue between students and non-student members. The Food Committee holds a “Talk with Campus Dining” meeting every three weeks in order to hear feedback and suggestions from students directly.

An important point of discussion was student input regarding Grand Valley State University’s vegan and vegetarian options. A student struggling with various food allergies spoke on some of these options.

Other students struggled to find fulfilling options at convenient locations for them, one student even opening up about not eating due to the lack of options or “high wait times” for their particular options.

To read more of Jamie Wilson’s coverage of the Talk with Campus Dining meetings, click here.