New initiative encourages students to give back

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Grand Valley is introducing a new, student-centered initiative that will help the university embark on its next 50 years and beyond.

The “Laker for a Lifetime” initiative aims to strengthen the Grand Valley connection for students and alumni by building awareness about Grand Valley’s needs and creating a long-lasting spirit of giving.

“For us to maintain the level of quality we have at Grand Valley, it’s important we receive support from those who are experiencing Grand Valley right now,” said Chris Barbee, director of Alumni Relations.

The program will primarily reach incoming and current students, as well as alumni, parents, and faculty and staff members, said Barbee. The goals are to help connect students to the campus and help them realize their importance in shaping the university’s future. “There are many ways to give back,” he said. “Whether it’s volunteering time in the community, participating in a student organization or giving monetarily to the Student Legacy Scholarship, it all supports Grand Valley’s future.”

Extensive research and student involvement went into planning and shaping the initiative. Last summer, students from a variety of backgrounds participated in focus groups and helped craft key messages for the initiative. “We want students to help drive this. Who better to know how to speak the language of students than the students themselves,” Barbee said.

Barbee explained that the initiative is a long-range plan, and he hopes when students find their own connection to the university, giving back will follow.

“From the moment you start here, and for the rest of your life, you’re a Laker for a lifetime. And that’s the exciting part, you can play a role in Grand Valley’s future, whether you’re a student, alum, administrator, faculty or staff member – we’re all in this together,” he said.

The “Laker for a Lifetime” Student Philanthropy Steering Committee includes representatives from Alumni Relations, Admissions, Student Services, Development, Student Life, Administration, Athletics, Housing, Institutional Marketing, University Counsel, News and Information Services, Career Services, Financial Aid, the Young Alumni Council, Student Senate, the Future Alumni Association and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

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