Psychology faculty, students join together to support community

March 7, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 13)
Article by Clemence Daniere

group of people stand in two rows at the base of a staircase, a logo from Kids' Food Basket is behind them on the wall

Students and faculty members from the Psychology Department's Community Engagement Committee are pictured at Kids' Food Basket.

Photo Credit: courtesy photo

Faculty and students from the Psychology Department have collaborated to donate their time and resources to lend assistance to nonprofit organizations in the Grand Rapids community.

Faculty Ernest Park, Ellen Shupe and Jamie Owen-DeSchryver chair the Psychology Department's Community Engagement Committee and arrange to partner with area organizations.

“We’ve worked to identify community engagement activities that meet the needs of people in the Grand Rapids area," Owen-DeSchryver said. "It is about simply connecting with organizations that are already doing important work." 

This past year, they have worked with Kids' Food Basket, Boys & Girls Club and Team 21 in Grand Rapids, and Replenish, Grand Valley's student food and basic needs pantry.

At Kids' Food Basket, which provides meals across four West Michigan counties for children who struggle with food insecurities, the committee and other GVSU students volunteered to pack meals. 

“I had an excellent experience volunteering at Kids' Food Basket," said student Kyle Perry. "The staff and other volunteers were all very kind and helpful. It felt great to contribute to the cause and I'd love to volunteer there again.” 

They regularly collect nonperishable food items and other basic necessities for Replenish. “We know that students can’t focus on academics if they are experiencing food insecurity and we want to help remove that stressor,” said Owen-DeSchryver.

In late fall, the committee partnered with the Boys & Girls Club and TEAM 21, two local youth organizations. They collected money to fill Thanksgiving baskets for two families, one from each organization. The organizations were identified through several faculty and students who already serve as volunteers.

Psychology students can connect to community engagement opportunities through student organizations like the Psychology Club, Psych Friends and Psi Chi. All students are welcome to participate. 

“We have an amazing group of faculty who support and value this work, which has led to identifying new opportunities. We keep working to also find ways to make certain that GVSU students can participate alongside faculty in as many activities as possible,” said Owen-DeSchryver. 

Looking ahead, the committee plans to work with Habitat for Humanity. 


Across Campus

This article was last edited on March 7, 2023 at 1:33 p.m.

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