Four from GVSU recognized for service by Campus Compact for Michigan

four headshots, 2 on top, 2 on bottom
Clockwise from top left are Stephanie Torres, Collin Louis, RyanAldridge and Rui Niu-Cooper. They were recognized by Campus Compact for Michigan.
Image Credit: courtesy photos

Four Grand Valley community members were recognized for their civic contributions by Campus Compact of Michigan, a 24-member coalition of institutions dedicated to expanding opportunities for civic engagement and community service.

Collin Louis, a biomedical sciences major, and Stephanie Torres, who earned a degree in public and nonprofit administration, both received the Commitment to Service Student award. They will be considered with others around the state for Campus Compact for Michigan’s Student Civic Leadership Award.

Ryan Aldridge, operations manager for the Innovation and Design Center, received the Servant Leadership Community Engagement Professionals Award and will be considered for the CCMI Champion of Engagement Award.

Rui Niu-Cooper, associate professor of education and director of ESL and TESOL programs, received the Community Engaged Teaching Faculty Excellence Award and will be considered for CCMI Distinguished Faculty of the Year Award. 

Information about the awardees is below. Travus Burton, director for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, said Grand Valley was scheduled to host the CCMI 2020 awards in April. Tentative plans are to recognize 2020 and 2021 awardees next April, Burton said.

• Collin Louis is the current vice president for Grand Rapids NAACP Youth Council and works closely with that organization on voter registration and voter advocacy. He is a NextGen Fellow, seeking to increase voter engagement in the Grand Valley and surrounding Grand Rapids communities. Louis has led water drives for residents of Flint and clothing drives for the Children's Advocacy Center. 

• Stephanie Torres was a student worker for the Community Service Learning Center. In that role, she led campus blood drives and fostered a partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan. Described by a nominator as a servant leader, Torres connected students to Alternative Breaks, Circle K and other student service organizations.

• Ryan Aldridge serves as advisor to the GVSU Solar Racing Team and is active in other outreach activities for the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Aldridge helped establish the PCEC Medical Mask Project, leading campus and community members to design and sew nearly 1,000 masks for medical professionals in West Michigan.

• Rui Niu-Cooper is a longtime advocate and supporter of ESL students. During remote learning, she initiated specialized online ESL classes led by Grand Valley student teachers. More than 70 area K-12 students participated in the classes. Niu-Cooper’s Tutoring for the Future initiative facilitates tutoring services between GVSU students and the local African refugee population at the Learning Café, in the Oakdale Neighborhood Association building.