Students at a football game holding their hands up in a Laker L.

10 things every incoming Laker must know

Make the most of your time as a Laker with these helpful tips.

Every August when students return to GVSU, it feels like campus is bursting with life. It’s one of the most magical times of the year, but for the incoming class, this excitement may be paired with confusion and nerves as they learn how to navigate a new life in a new place. There are new buildings, schedules, events and more filling the minds of new students. 

There are plenty of facts and tips students will learn in their first few weeks. To help ease the transition, here are 10 things that every incoming Laker should know. 

Don't walk the wrong way under the Transformational Link.

Legend has it that if you walk “the wrong way” under the Transformational Link, you will fail your exams and never graduate from GVSU. The blue structure outside of Au Sable Hall was created by artist Gary Kulak and was built in 1990. While the origin of the story is unknown, many students avoid walking under the Transformational Link altogether.

The Transformational Link in GVSU's Allendale Campus.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

All Rapids bus routes are free for students.

Many students know that they are able to hop on the Laker Line to go from Allendale to downtown Grand Rapids, or on the bus routes to nearby off-campus housing. But did you know that all Rapids bus routes are free with a valid student ID? In fact, there are many student discounts to take advantage of. Check out other student discounts here.

The Laker Line in front of Kirkhof Center.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Find a new study spot for a change of scene.

Looking for a new study spot? GVSU’s campuses are full of hidden study gems for a change of scenery. Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Seidman House. The building, located on the Allendale Campus in the Great Lakes Plaza, offers stunning views of the Ravines and a quiet space with chairs, desks and a conversation pit for when you really need to get in the zone. The Seidman House also houses the university archives, where you can explore rare books and special collections if you need a study break. 
  • Reading garden. Located in the middle of Mary Idema Pew Library’s third floor, this outdoor space provides the fresh air, natural light and plant life of the outdoors combined with the peace and focused environment of the library. 
  • Steelcase Library Reading Room. A quick bus ride on the Laker Line can get you downtown to Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. In the DeVos Center, you’ll find the reading room inside the Steelcase Library, a space that features a cathedral ceiling, quiet study areas and stained glass windows. 
President Mantella sits with students inside Seidman House.
President Mantella sits with students inside of Seidman House.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

All GVSU sporting events are free for students.

Be sure to grab some friends and go cheer on your Lakers this fall! Your student ID is your ticket, so be sure to bring it with you to the entrance gate for any regular-season home game and scan upon entry. Check out the GVSU Lakers composite schedule and mark your calendar for any upcoming games. 

A view of the stands and football field during a GVSU football game.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Find hidden gems at the Surplus Store.

GVSU’s Surplus Store is located on Lake Michigan Drive in Standale and sells electronics, furniture and office supplies previously owned by GVSU. The store aims to reduce environmental impact, engaging in sustainable practices by providing items that have reached the end of their shelf life for sale to the general public. 

Explore the great outdoors in the Grand Ravines.

Just south of campus with entrances from Ravines Trail Road and Fillmore Street sits the Grand Ravines North County Park. The 202-acre park contains a dog park, hiking trails, stunning views of the Grand River and more. 

Trees in the Grand Ravines during the fall.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Get involved with Laker Welcome events.

GVSU hosts a number of events on campus to help you meet new people and become acquainted with the resources available. Be sure to mark your calendar for these events to kick off the fall semester: 

To see a full list of Laker Welcome events, head to the GVSU Laker Welcome website.

Students participate in Grand Valley's Campus Life Night.
Image credit - GVSU Promotions Office
Students participate in Grand Valley's Campus Life Night.
Image credit - GVSU Promotions Office

Utilize library resources to level up your class projects.

Libraries are just for books anymore. Need access to a 3D printer? Help researching a class project? Professional cameras and equipment you can check out? A professional quality podcast booth? Mary Idema Pew Library has it all available for free to students.

Students talk in podcast booths in Grand Valley's Digital Creator Lab.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Find your community.

The most important thing that you can do to create a positive experience for yourself at GVSU is to find your community. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get plugged in, but here are a few to get you started:

Students high five after an intramural volleyball game.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson

Keep up with GVSU online.

The quickest way to keep up to date with your university? Follow GVSU and key campus members on Instagram and other social media channels. 


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