President Mantella tells alumni experiential learning may look different in the fall, but will have the same impact

Alumni House on the Allendale Campus.
Alumni House on the Allendale Campus.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

Alumni from more than a dozen states joined a May 19 virtual town hall with President Philomena V. Mantella and university leaders to learn how Grand Valley is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants asked how alumni can help Grand Valley students, as university leaders explore multiple learning and living scenarios to accommodate students safely in the fall.

Mantella thanked alumni for committing their time, treasure and talent to the university, and for volunteering through Grand Valley's Networks of Support

She added that experiential learning is critically important, including internships, co-ops and clinicals.

"We need you to help keep learning rich and vibrant for our students," Mantella said. "I know some businesses are struggling. We have virtual experiences available for internships. Students can work in smaller groups, wear masks and practice social distancing. These experiences may look different but can have the same impact."

Troy Farley, director of the GVSU Career Center, said the center recently held virtual internship training for 40 area employers, with other trainings planned. He said micro internships or projects are also an option. Graduates are receiving career support and coaching through the Virtual Career Lab

Mantella reminded alums to take advantage of the Laker Lifetime Learning commitment (L3 Account) available to all graduates. Students may use their $1,000 L3 account funds toward credit-bearing coursework for all GVSU programs, including badges, certificates, advanced degrees and additional bachelor's degrees. 

Chris Barbee, director of Alumni Relations, encouraged alums to stay connected. He said resources and support are still available virtually.

Greg Sanial, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the university is waiting for guidance from the NCAA and GLIAC concerning fall sports; Mantella added the university is not contemplating cutting sports programs.

Mantella said the university will continue to follow CDC, state and public health guidelines as Grand Valley prepares for learning options for courses for the fall, which include in-person instruction, fully online and a hybrid model.

"We will use the best of online learning and the best of face-to-face learning," she said. "COVID-19 has taught us just how precious face-to-face learning is."