Student action teams seek to enhance university experience

The first student action team convened following a design thinking workshop held in January of this year. At the workshop, more than 50 students from a variety of majors, academic levels and backgrounds gathered with President Philomena V. Mantella to identify ways to reimagine the student experience at Grand Valley.

The student action team and GVSU employees on Zoom

From the workshop came six themes which the student action teams will tackle throughout the year. Themes include food insecurity, expanded career support, and peer mentoring. 

The initial student action team reported out on ways to expand financial literacy and wellness among Grand Valley students.

For the accelerated and short-term experience, a team of eight students spent the session curating recommendations that would be presented to Mantella the following day. This team was sponsored by Michelle Rhodes, associate vice president for Financial Aid, and the session was facilitated by David Coffey, director of the Design Thinking Academy and professor of mathematics.

Participant Julian Sanders said he was excited to be on a student action team, seeing it as a way to “be part of change, and to participate in Grand Valley’s growth.”

Mantella commended the students for their forward-thinking discussion, and affirmed the university’s commitment to incorporate ideas from student action teams into campus life. “We want to take these recommendations and create scalable programs that support all of our students in a deep and relevant way,” said Mantella.

The student action team’s presentation on financial literacy and wellness included proposals for a new financial aid orientation session for incoming students, along with personalized communication for informed decisions and active engagement with on-campus and virtual resources.

The student action teams are part of Mantella’s Reach Higher Together initiative. Students should contact [email protected] to participate in a future team.