Across Campus

November 23, 2015


Student rally supports University of Missouri students

More than 150 Grand Valley students participated in a silent march and rally on the Allendale Campus November 12 to show "Solidarity with Missouri" and promote inclusion on campus.

The event was coordinated by 15 culturally based student organizations on campus. 

The silent march began at Kleiner Commons at 6 p.m. and wound through the four floors of the Mary Idema Pew Library to the Kirkhof Center, leading to a 7 p.m. rally at the Cook Carillon Tower.

Several student speakers addressed the diverse crowd — some mentioned recent events at the University of Missouri, where hundreds of students and faculty members held protests over a series of racial incidents. Others offered prayers for unity, healing and overcoming hate.

Students were encouraged to participate in the myGVSU Campus Climate Survey 2015, which closed November 22. This is the fifth campus climate survey Grand Valley has administered. 

Protesters with signs

Photo by Bernadine Carey-Tucker

Students hold signs and address the crowd gathered at a rally November 12 on the Allendale Campus to show support for students at the University of Missouri.

A group photo was taken at the clock tower that will be sent to students at the University of Missouri.

President Thomas J. Haas and other university administrators attended the rally. 


Study abroad participation grows slightly

Grand Valley saw greater participation in numbers of students who study abroad than previous reporting years.

According to the Institute of International Education, Grand Valley was ranked 11th among master’s degree granting institutions in terms of number of study abroad participants, with 753. Grand Valley is ranked third among state institutions, following the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. The data is from the 2013-2014 reporting year.

For the 2012-2013 reporting year, Grand Valley was ranked 10th, with 721 students.

Mark Schaub, chief international officer, said the top three destinations for study abroad participants are the United Kingdom, Spain and Ghana and France tie for third place. 

Grand Valley offers more than 4,000 study abroad programs; visit for more information.


Deadline nears to apply for healthy department status

Five campus departments earned "Certified Healthy" status last year from Health and Wellness. The deadline to apply to become certified for this academic year is December 18.

Applications are available online at; criteria to be named a Certified Healthy Department includes creating a healthy office culture through a variety of resources and programs. 

The award recipients are Alumni Relations, Career Center, Charter Schools, Human Resources, and Institutional Marketing.


Scholar shares stories of Native appropriation in fashion, media

A Native scholar, activist and blogger gave a presentation about cultural appropriation November 17 during Grand Valley's annual Native American Heritage Month celebration. 

Adrienne Keene, a member of Cherokee Nation, discussed her research and how she became inspired to start "Native Appropriations," a popular blog and forum that focuses on Native (American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian) representations, including stereotypes in pop culture. 

She started the blog while attending Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she researched college access for Native students. 

"I was the only Native student in my cohort with no Native professors, and I was struggling with visibility," Keene said. "One day I visited Urban Outfitters and noticed many clothing pieces and designs with Native stereotypes on them, so I took photos of them, started a blog and it took off from there." 

She said there are 567 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., each with its own language, culture and history. 

"Stereotyping shrinks diversity of Native peoples down to a series of one-sided stereotypes," she said. "I hope this blog provides a way to showcase issues that are important to the broader Native community." 

Adrienne Keene

Photo by Amanda Pitts

Native scholar Adrienne Keene gives a presentation about cultural appropriation November 17 in the Cook-DeWitt Center.

She said ways to incorporate Native fashion without being offensive is to buy from Native designers, research the story behind the design, and not wear sacred or religious items like head dresses.

"Cultural exchange in film and fashion can be beautiful when it's equal, but cultural appropriation is not, because it's the action of taking and using without permission," she said. 

Keene's visit was organized by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Native American Student Association at Grand Valley. 

The presentation was held in conjunction with the Professionals of Color Lecture Series. The next lecture will take place February 26 with a lecture by Linal Harris, vice president and chief diversity officer for U.S. Cellular.  


McDonald House gives $20,000 to literacy project

Representatives from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan presented a check for $20,000 to the College of Education Michigan Literacy Project.

Lesa Dion, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan, and Randell G. Price, owner of the Allendale McDonalds, presented the donation November 13 at the L. William Seidman Center.

The Michigan Literacy Project is an initiative that gives quality children’s literature to recent College of Education graduates teaching in K-5 classrooms in underserved Michigan public schools. College of Education faculty members Sheryl Vlietstra, Megan Freudigmann and COE staff member Forrest Clift started the initiative in 2014 as a way to help new teachers build their classroom libraries. 

The program is open to alumni who started their elementary teaching careers within the last three years and who are teaching in underserved Michigan public school districts across the state.

People holding a check

Photo by Amanda Pitts

Pictured with a check for the College of Education Michigan Literacy Project are, from left, President Thomas J. Haas, Lesa Dion, Sheryl Vlietstra, Megan Freudigmann, Forrest Clift and Randell G. Price. 

In the past two years, 11 teachers received hundreds of books through MLP. The RMHC grant will enable MLP to provide 45 classroom libraries over the next three years.

For more information, contact Sheryl Vlietstra at (616) 843-3192 or submit an application at


Local students compete in math challenge

Local middle and high school students put their mathematical knowledge to the test as they competed against each other during the third annual Math-Team-Matics competition at Grand Valley.

Hosted by the Department of Mathematics and Regional Math and Science Center, the November 7 competition saw 45 students from five local schools competing in four contests involving content from K-8 mathematics, high school algebra and high school geometry.

West Catholic High School captured this year's top prize in the high school division, while the Northern Hills Middle School team won the middle school division.

“This program gives 7th through 10th grade students the opportunity to collaborate and think differently about problem solving in mathematics,” said Chelsea Ridge, Regional Math and Science Center math program coordinator. “Math-Team-Matics is also a great opportunity for students to experience what it is like to be on a college campus, some of them for the first time.”

Ridge added that the competition is predominately planned by Grand Valley students from the Mathematics Department with an interest in education. Students Jennifer Moon, Brittany Bordewyk and Nick Schweitzer organized this year’s contest. Grand Valley students also serve as volunteers to facilitate the event’s individual challenges.

Contests during this year’s competition included a team challenge with students working in teams of five to solve a mathematical problem, individual tests, a team problem-solving relay race, and a bracket-style quiz bowl.


Grand Valley noted for increasing low-income student enrollments

The Institute for Higher Education Policy released a report highlighting Grand Valley as one of 10 Access Improvers — colleges that have increased low-income student enrollments while maintaining strong outcomes. 

The report, "Serving Their Share: Some Colleges Could be Doing a Much Better Job Enrolling and Graduating Low-Income Students," is an in-depth analysis of a report released in August as part of Washington Monthly magazine's College Guide. The report delves deeper into the methodology and shares in greater detail how schools like Grand Valley are exceeding expectations.

The report noted that Grand Valley increasingly enrolls low-income students while maintaining high performance standards, such as a high graduation rate and low cohort default rate. 

More information is online at