Student leaders of Reach Higher 2025 encourage fellow Lakers to be heard as plan enters new phase

A picture of the Grand Valley entrance in Allendale at sunrise
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Setting strategy is the key component of the next phase of the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan, a process that will be the focus of the next community huddles.

Those participating in the huddles will be asked to bring that big-picture mindset. All GVSU students, faculty and staff are invited to share their input. The upcoming huddles are February 25 and March 1.

Steering Committee co-lead Mark Schaub said his experience in countless conversations is an overall genuine interest in thinking ahead.

 "The vast majority of folks are eager to talk about the future of this institution," Schaub said. "There is a hunger to talk about what's down the road."

As Steering Committee members gear up for this next phase, they continue to gather robust feedback from across the university on the draft language for the Mission, Vision and Values. That thoughtful input will be incorporated into new drafts.

Among the Steering Committee members providing input for this next phase and the overall plan are four students who are encouraging their fellow Lakers to get involved with a process that will transform the university. There is a representative of Student Senate and of the Graduate Student Association, as well as two cultural organization presidents. 

Reach Higher 2025 student Steering Committee members explain why student voices are crucial for strategic planning

Adrian Hall, Eric Siegrist, John Jones and Britney Terrell
From left, Adrian Hall, Eric Siegrist, John Jones and Britney Terrell

Adrian Hall

On the motivation for serving on the Steering Committee, Hall called it "simple."

"It’s to be a voice for minority students and to help create change," Hall said. "This is a way for me to express and address concerns of minorities here at the university and figure out a way to implement them through helping draft new Mission, Vision, and Values statements."

Hall said students can provide a crucial perspective that isn't as apparent to faculty and staff members, allowing them to meaningfully address areas for improvement and reshape the university. Hall said student voices are valued in this process -- and that it is OK to disagree.

John Jones

As the president of the Graduate Student Association, Jones said the work on the Steering Committee allows the voice of graduate students to be part of this high-level planning.

Jones encouraged students to add their voices to the representation on the Steering Committee.

"As a committee of faculty, staff, and students, we are only a small representation of the many thousands we represent," Jones said. "We need more individual voices to be expressed and heard throughout this process to broaden the perspectives that impact the direction the committee takes with this important endeavor."

Eric Siegrist

A key reason Siegrist wanted to serve on the Steering Committee is to ensure student voices help shape Grand Valley's future.

"As one of the largest stakeholder groups on campus, it is important that students understand their role and help to provide input in the strategic planning process," Siegrist said. "After all, Grand Valley is a learner-centered institution and student feedback and participation in this process is important to drive change."

Siegrist acknowledged that students receive a large volume of communication, but encouraged them to engage with what they see so they can provide input on this process.

Britney Terrell

Terrell said the personal experience of not being heard while growing up motivates her to serve on the Steering Committee.

"Throughout my undergraduate career, I have learned the importance of speaking up for myself and others so that we can build a better world together," Terrell said. "This committee is another opportunity for me to see how much power my voice along with others' voices has."

Terrell hopes her peers will become part of the process to help create a space for everyone to feel acknowledged, adding the strategy "strives to increase knowledge in areas of inclusion and equity."


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