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