A male GVSU student and Laker Outreach Ambassador wearing a bright yellow vest walks toward other students on the Allendale Campus.

GVSU students encourage positive wellness behavior through new outreach program

Grand Valley outreach ambassadors have been tasked with encouraging and rewarding peers for following health policies, such as wearing face coverings. 

The Laker Outreach Ambassador program, within Recreation and Wellness in the Division of Student Affairs, began handing out reusable face coverings and T-shirts on the Allendale Campus this week. To comply with the "Staying in Place" order issued by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH), ambassadors are only working on campus at this time.

Andy Beachnau, associate vice provost for Student Affairs, said the Laker outreach ambassadors, while practicing the health orders currently in place, are helping promote the Lakers Together messaging and serve as a positive example.

“This program is designed to provide information in a neighborhood engagement model and reinforce positive behavior,” said Beachnau.

Future plans include expanding the reach to off-campus student communities and incorporating additional education aspects to help students better understand the policies and learn from peers. The ambassadors, faculty, staff members and students all have the ability to report those who are not complying with the" Staying in Place" order and university policies.

“Our belief is the university, state and county have communicated what is expected and required of our students,” said Steven Lipnicki, assistant dean of students. “We’re there to remind them of what they already know.”

Beachnau said the Laker Outreach Ambassadors will complement the student peer wellness educators. The role will be posted in Handshake for additional students to apply.