Outdoor campus visits and tours to begin August 3, self-guided tours to launch in July

Photo of Allendale Campus.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

Visiting campus is one of the best ways for new and prospective students and their families to experience the Laker Effect. Students who didn't get the opportunity to visit campus in the spring because of COVID-19 will soon get that experience.

Jodi Chycinski, associate vice president and director of Admissions, said outdoor campus visits and tours will begin August 3, while following CDC guidance. Chycinski made the announcement during a June 16 Laker town hall for new students and their family members. She said outdoor self-guided tours will be available in July.

"Many new students have asked if they can come to campus on their own to walk around and get a sense and feel of campus, so in July we are launching a self-guided tour website allowing students to use their mobile device to walk outside from building to building," Chycinski said.

The outdoor tour will include audio and video descriptions of various facilities. A link to the tour website will be posted at www.gvsu.edu/admissions

New Lakers also learned about academic planning for fall, student life opportunities and procedures being taken to keep campus as safe as possible. Learn more at www.gvsu.edu/lakerstogether.

President Philomena V. Mantella said Grand Valley is student-centered and the university has the capacity to respond with care to students' individual needs.

"This time of unprecedented stress and pressure calls us to care for each other and that's what being a Laker is all about," said Mantella. "You have already persisted and you will come and make your mark here and help us all grow."

Christa Fernando, '20, a biomedical sciences major who graduated in April, participated in the town hall and told students she felt supported when Grand Valley had to move to remote learning in March.

"My professors were flexible and empathetic and found alternative ways for me to hear lectures if my internet wasn't working," said Fernando. "They held virtual office hours and checked in on me to see how I was doing."

Mantella said the university has a very strong structure in place that provides flexibility and the ability to scale up or down to adapt to changing circumstances. 

"We are practicing multiple scenarios and are learning how to flatten the curve, watch patterns and utilize PPE," she said. "We have the capacity to adjust to remote learning if needed."

Loren Rullman, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, said Grand Valley will offer a high-quality student life experience with safety in mind. "Fraternity and sorority recruitment will be virtual and Campus Life Night, a student organization fair, will be offered virtually," he said.

Rullman said student leaders and advisors for various clubs and organizations will be provided with guidance about how to offer a vibrant and active campus culture while minding social distancing protocols.

Michelle Rhodes, associate vice president for Financial Aid, said student employment is available and currently 50 different offices are hiring for the fall.

"Some offices will post yet this month and in July, so we tell students to keep checking the Laker job site every few weeks. We even have virtual opportunities available," said Rhodes. Visit www.gvsu.edu/studentjobs for more information.

Rhodes said her office is aware of students' shifting financial situations and unique challenges. For support visit www.gvsu.edu/financialaid or call (616) 331-3234.

Tina Barnikow, senior director of health, said everyone's help is needed to reduce risk and keep campus as safe as possible.

"We will have signs around our campuses to remind students to wash their hands, practice social distancing and when to wear a facing covering," Barnikow said. 

Matt Boelkins, director of first-year advising and registration reminded students to register and to sign up for a one-on-one virtual advising appointment at www.gvsu.edu/admissions/orientation.