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What's Ahead

February 20, 2017


Passport Fair is first step to study abroad

Vanesha Blackburn traveled to Ghana for a study abroad program last year that she deemed life-changing.

Vanesha Blackburn is pictured at her field placement site in Ghana during a study abroad program.

Vanesha Blackburn, center, is pictured at her field placement site in Ghana during a study abroad program.

The first stop on that journey was to apply for a passport. Blackburn was one of two students who earned a scholarship to purchase a passport through a collaboration among the Padnos International Center, TRIO Student Support Services and the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy Program. Blackburn, a sociology major, also earned a Gilman International Scholarship that helped fund her study abroad program. 

She said the most memorable part of the trip to Ghana was touring the area's slave castles. "My group was able to learn about slave history like never before and we were able to do it together," she said. "We were able to connect the castles to one another and to our personal lives."

The Padnos International Center will host a Passport Fair on Tuesday, February 21, from 1-4 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room.

Participants need to bring proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate or naturalization certificate), driver's license or Michigan ID, and two separate checks or money orders totaling $135 ($110 to Department of State, $25 to USPS). Passport photos can be taken for $3 cash with Grand Valley ID.

Passport renewals can also be obtained at the fair with two checks ($110 to Department of State, $6.45 to USPS). 

Allow up to six weeks for processing. For more information, visit


Heartwell to discuss impact of local governments on climate change

Global warming can be a hot-button issue in political debates and the subject of headlines. Former Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell said local city governments can take proactive measures to help solve climate change, which he considers to be one of the largest global threats.

Heartwell, community sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability Practices, will discuss these strategies during an upcoming presentation Tuesday, February 21. "Beyond the Paris Accords: Adaptation Planning and Local Government" will take place from 1-2:15 p.m. in Manitou Hall, room 122.

During the early years of his 12-year tenure as mayor, Heartwell said he recognized that climate change was a major global threat. As a result, he launched initiatives in Grand Rapids to mitigate the human impacts on global warming.

"At some point, city mayors began to recognize that mitigation alone wasn't adequate, and that the warming already present was creating vulnerabilities in our cities that demanded adaptation strategies," said Heartwell.

Heartwell attended two sessions of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change in both Paris and Warsaw in 2016 as a representative of the collective of U.S. city mayors. During his presentation, he will discuss the proposed outcomes from these conferences, and why he believes people will succeed in solving climate change.

"Today's students will be dealing with even more catastrophic consequences in years to come, so we simply must bring this mad dog of anthropogenic climate change to heel," said Heartwell.

For more information about this event, contact the Department of Geography and Sustainable Planning at x13065.

George Heartwell

George Heartwell


Counseling Center to participate in screening day

The University Counseling Center will participate in National Eating Disorder Screening Day on Wednesday, February 22.

Interested students can participate by completing a brief questionnaire to determine if they are at risk for eating-related disorders. Participants will have an opportunity to meet with a counselor to discuss questionnaire results. The results of the questionnaire will be kept confidential.

Screenings will be held at the following locations and times.

• Kirkhof Center lobby, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Campus Recreation Center, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• DeVos Center, room 125C, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences lobby, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

More information is available online at


More than 230 employers expected at career fair

Job seekers will have the opportunity to meet more than 230 employers at the 2017 Winter Career Fair on Thursday, February 23, at DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.

The fair, hosted by the Career Center, will take place from 1-5 p.m. It is open to college students and alumni seeking professional employment or internship opportunities. Pre-registration for the fair is not required, but students should bring their student ID. 

For a list of registered employers, visit  


Fulbright workshop planned

The Padnos International Center will host a Fulbright workshop on Friday, February 24, for faculty members who are interested in teaching or conducting research overseas.

The workshop will run from 1:30-3 p.m. in the DeVos Center, University Club room. Participants will learn about the application process and a wine and cheese reception with past Fulbright recipients follows until 4 p.m.

RSVP for the workshop online at (under FTLC programs). More information about the Fulbright program is online at