Community Partner Resources

The Grand Valley State University Office for Community Engagement believes in cultivating and sustaining mutually-beneficial and impactful relationships with community partners. Mutual responsibility and empowerment are key qualities of successful engagement partnerships. The information included in this section is designed to help community partners get the most out of teaching, research, and service partnerships with Grand Valley.

There are many things to consider when collaborating on projects. We hope that the information below provides you with a foundation to get started with your partnership. The Office for Community Engagement is particularly interested in opportunities that have the potential to engage faculty and staff from multiple disciplines. If you have any questions about building mutually beneficial partnerships or would like to connect with us, contact the Director of Community Engagement at (616) 331-8971.

Partner with GVSU

Project Types

There are different options to consider when choosing to work with Grand Valley State University students, faculty, and staff. There are opportunities for students to help your organization with short-term or long-term projects. 

  • Short-term projects: Students collaborating with your organization for a one-day-only event, or working on a project that wouldn't necessarily require any previous meetings or communication. Some examples are:
    • Park clean up
    • Food service
    • Working a booth at a fair
  • Long-term projects: Students working with your organization and a faculty member on a semester or year-long project that often requires consistent communication with individuals involved, and multiple meetings to plan and develop projects. Some examples are: 
    • Students helping your organization with various projects regularly as part of a GVSU course 
    • Projects that would require a semester or year-long commitment from individuals involved
    • Projects that put learning outcomes into practice

Work with a Class on a Project

Many GVSU courses from diverse disciplines have been designed around community projects and initiatives throughout West Michigan and beyond. These community-based learning courses involve application of course theory and practice and help prepare students for both careers and civic participation in a democratic society. GVSU is committed to offering value to our community partners and to making a difference in our communities by working with nonprofit organizations, schools, faith-based organizations, businesses, and industry.

Inquiries related to ongoing community based-learning and research or civic engagement can be sent directly to GVSU faculty/staff or to the Director of Community Engagement.

Example partnerships

To see examples of what a partnership with Grand Valley can look like, please check out our Featured Stories page. This page features successful stories of ways in which Grand Valley has partnered with the Greater Grand Rapids community, and may provide you with ideas of how we can work together.

Recruit Students

If you are interested in recruiting students for volunteer work, please visit the web page for the Grand Valley State University Community Service Learning Center (CSLC). The CSLC seeks to prepare students to become active, global citizens and challenge them to be committed to a life of community engagement and democratic participation.

For event-specific or long-term projects that will not be related to a particular course, you may use their online form to submit opportunities for students to join you.

Consider Reciprocity

One of the most important pieces of any partnership is reciprocity. In a reciprocal relationship, all involved parties benefit from the relationship. When it comes to community engagement, this is no different. Both your organization and our students should each benefit from working together. 

Click here for more information on roles within a partnership.


Page last modified September 6, 2017