A close-up of round buttons that read "Lakers Keep Lakers Safe" with an anchor in the middle.

Lakers Keep Lakers Safe initiative invites students to build a stronger, healthier campus community

A new campuswide initiative called Lakers Keep Lakers Safe invites Grand Valley students to take a pledge committing to building a stronger and healthier campus community. 

The idea was initially sparked in a meeting of the Alcohol and Other Drug Services Leadership Council, said Mikaela Padgen, mental health communications and outreach specialist, and has now spread to many participating departments across campus. 

“Lakers Keep Lakers Safe is a reminder to our campus community that we take care of one another, and that we have resources available that help us do that,” said Padgen. 

The initiative’s website provides a comprehensive list of on-campus resources that are available to students, from access to Replenish Basic Needs Center to information on how to report a campus climate incident. 

The goal of this initiative, Padgen said, is to hightlight these resources that have always been available and to remind students that they are part of a community that cares about them and their well-being. With the Lakers Keep Lakers Safe pledge, Padgen hopes to also remind students that they can play an active role in situations they may see happening to their peers. 

“More often than not in substance use emergencies, mental health crises, and situations of domestic violence, there is another campus community member who knows something’s going on,” said Padgen. “This is really a call to action to the person who may be a bystander, reminding them that they have the power to speak up. They have the power to connect somebody to a resource that’s available. We have so many people on campus that care and want to be there in those situations that can be really really tough to navigate.” 

Mikaela Padgen speaks to a student over a table covered in small hand-outs.
Mikaela Padgen, mental health communications and outreach specialist, right, greets student Jaclyn Khoo, left, at the Lakers Keep Lakers Safe table near the Cook Carillon Tower September 13.

Getting involved is simple: visit the Lakers Keep Lakers Safe website and take the pledge, which encourages students to hold themselves accountable for one another. It reads: “I pledge to participate in building a stronger and healthier GVSU Laker community by upholding values of inclusion, integrity, and community at all times, finding safe ways to intervene in situations that may cause harm, and taking personal responsibility for the well-being of others.” 

These values are also in line with the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan put in place by President Philomena V. Mantella, showcasing the direction that Grand Valley is heading. “Especially with the largest incoming class starting at GVSU,” said Padgen. “We want to really set a precedent for how we conduct ourselves as Lakers. That’s the overall charge.” 

Lakers Keep Lakers Safe will have a table at events on campus throughout the semester. Students can learn about the initiative, take the pledge, and share their commitment with the community.

A close-up of stickers of a black dog with a collar that says Koda. GVPD information is at the bottom.


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