Across Campus

September 29, 2014


New council forms to advance university sustainability goals

A council has been formed that will focus on planning and advancing sustainability as a campus-wide goal and value at Grand Valley.

The Campus Sustainability Advisory Council comprises 25 faculty and staff members, including representatives from all eight colleges and a wide variety of units and divisions. Jim Bachmeier, vice president for Finance and Administration, and Norman Christopher, executive director of the Office of Sustainability Practices, serve as co-chairs.

“Our goal is to move sustainability at Grand Valley more deeply into academia,” said Bachmeier. “We’ve done an incredible job at being environmentally sustainable through recycling, composting and energy-saving efforts, but it’s now time to look at how sustainability is integrated into all facets of campus."

Sustainability council

Photo by Amanda Pitts
Pictured is the Campus Sustainability Advisory Council, established
to advance sustainability as a campus goal.

The group, formally called the Sustainability Advisory Board, was reconstructed to include a broader campus representation and coordination of planning and programming.

Christopher said the council will discuss ways to raise Grand Valley’s STARS score, a national assessment system designed to gauge the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors. While Grand Valley has maintained gold status for the past two years, Christopher said there’s room for improvement.

“Sustainability at Grand Valley is progressing at such a rapid pace, and this council will help to continue best practices and identify our next steps,” said Christopher. “Before, we were on a progress journey. Now the campus community is on a journey to make an impact. People want to see change in behavior, and this council will give us the opportunity to do that.”

The council comes as the Office of Sustainability Practices, formerly the Sustainable Community Development Initiative, announces its name change.

Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the name change is part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen and broaden Grand Valley’s achievements in the areas of triple-bottom line sustainability.

“Going from an initiative to an office was a natural evolution,” Hiskes said. “We plan to better integrate sustainability programming with curriculum and enhance high impact learning opportunities for students. We are excited about the potential of the office to engage the campus community in a discussion of sustainability-related goals.”

Learn more about the Office of Sustainability Practices at


Kutsche Office of Local History helps students with oral history project

The young scholars who worked for a year documenting the history of their Grandville Avenue neighborhood celebrated the successful conclusion of their project at the Cook Library Center September 18.

“Portrait of a Community” includes a video documentary and archive materials collected by Cook Library Scholars, 31 students who are in grades K-8. Melanie Shell-Weiss, director of Grand Valley’s Kutsche Office of Local History, facilitated the project with Cook Library Center staff members.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and other area leaders joined CLS scholars and their families for the event.

View the exhibit at the Cook Library Center, 1100 Grandville Ave. SW. It will remain up through the end of the year.

Portrait of a Community family

A Cook Library Scholar family is pictured at the celebration of a yearlong oral history project, facilitated by the Kutsche Office of Local History.


CCPS marks 10 years

The College of Community and Public Service, one of the university’s three largest colleges, is marking 10 years with a series of events.

CCPS, which offers more than 20 bachelor’s degrees and four master’s degrees, was formed in 2004 as part of the university’s reorganization. The college includes four academic units — School of Criminal Justice; School of Hospitality and Tourism Management; School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration; and School of Social Work — and two non-academic units — Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and CCPS Undergraduate Advising Center.

“During the past 10 years, faculty and staff within the College of Community and Public Service have formed key partnerships with those in the public and private sectors,” said George Grant Jr., dean of CCPS. “These partnerships enrich scholarship and research, endorse democratic values and civic responsibility, and, most importantly, address critical societal issues and contribute to the public good.”

Grant said faculty and staff have also created community engagement activities, providing many learning opportunities for students to build skills for their future careers and meet local leaders in the public and private sectors.

A schedule of CCPS events can be found at


Opening reception for FAC art exhibition set

Thirty-five works of art are joining the Grand Valley collection as part of this year’s Fall Arts Celebration. The “Shared Passion: A Gift of the Stuart & Barbara Padnos Foundation Collection” exhibit is being showcased in the Art Gallery through October 31. 

Throughout their marriage, businessman and philanthropist Stuart Padnos and his wife, Barbara, accumulated a significant collection of art, ranging from sculptures and paintings to works on paper.

“The collection served as an overview of both European and American art of the twentieth century and as a legacy to the couple’s evolving artistic, aesthetic and wide range of interests,” said Henry Matthews, director of Galleries and Collections, noting the collection includes works from Marc Chagall, Paul Emile Pissarro, Grandma Moses and Mathias Alten.

An opening reception will be held Tuesday, September 30, 5-7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center, Art Gallery. The exhibit will be open through October 31.

Grandma Moses painting

‘The Storm’ by Grandma Moses is one of 35 new pieces of artwork donated to the university by Stuart and Barbara Padnos. An opening reception set for September 30 celebrates the exhibition.

After the conclusion of the exhibition, all works will be distributed throughout Zumberge Hall on the Allendale Campus for public display with several of the sculptures being permanently exhibited on the building’s grounds.

“We are very grateful to the Padnos family for choosing Grand Valley as a worthy final depository and guardian of this distinguished collection of art work,” said Matthews. “Specifically, we wish to thank both Doug and Jeff Padnos, who have worked directly with the university with regard to all aspects of this gift.”

For more information about the “Shared Passions” exhibit, visit

All Fall Arts Celebration events are open to the public with free admission. For more information, visit, or call x12185.