Laker Connections

Laker Connections Student Success Programs

Brothers: Black Male Scholars (designed for Black men), Laker Familia (designed for Latino/a students), Niara (designed for women of color) and Queer Connections (designed for LGBTQIA+ students) are designed to create an environment where students can achieve their full potential at GVSU while being their full, authentic selves. These programs are open to all students and a reflection of our values of inclusiveness and diversity and our core mission of student success.

Purpose & Pillars

The purpose of the Laker Connections Student Success Programs is to help students achieve success at GVSU.

  •  Students will experience intentional environments that are reaffirming and encouraging of students’ identities.
  •  Students will be exposed to a variety of experiences to help them develop skills necessary for college and beyond.
  •  Students will know that faculty/staff care about them and believe they can succeed.
  •  Students will develop meaningful relationships with other students.
  •  Student will develop a sense of belonging and greater satisfaction with their college experience.

 Students will…

  •  Make connections to the larger community outside of GVSU
  • Understand how to engage in the democratic process
  • Have opportunities to engage in dialogue

 Students will…

  • Feel a sense of agency in their ability to lead
  • Understand their strengths/growth areas
  • Learn about opportunities to engage in leadership

 Students will…

  • Understand the academic rhythm of the year and key milestones
  • Connect to academic resources
  • Explore their purpose/passion

 Students will…

  •  Have a relationship with a faculty/staff member(s) and feel confident they care about their success

Mentor: a faculty/staff person at GVSU who has committed to helping a student succeed while at GVSU by providing personal support, resource/referral information to on-campus resources, and other assistance as needed.

Program Coordinators

Relando Thompkins-Jones

Relando Thompkins-Jones, Brothers



Adriana Almanza

Adriana Almanza, Laker Familia



Alex Montgomery

Alex Montgomery, Niara



Marla Wick

Marla Wick, Queer Connections



2018-2019 Meetings

  • September 20 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Kickoff Meeting
  • October 18 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Alumni Networking
  • November 15 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Student Topic TBD
  • December 6 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): What’s your plan for going back home?
  • January 17 (5-7pm, 2272 Kirkhof): New Year goal setting
  • February 21 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Black History Month Event
  • March 14 (5-7pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Closing Session
  • September 11 (4-5:30pm, 2270 Kirkhof): Kickoff Meeting
  • October 9 (12:00-1:30pm, 2215/2216 Kirkhof): Mental Health & Wellness
  • November 13 (5:00-7:00pm, 2266 Kirkhof): Celebrating Cultural Traditions
  • December 4 (4:00-5:30pm, 2270 Kirkhof): Vision Boards


  • September 12: Intercultural Student Reception (4:00-6:00pm, Grand River Room, Kirkhof)
  • October 12: Catholic Church Site Visit (1:00-2:30pm, San Jose de Obrero Parish, Wyoming, MI)
  • October 24: Sacramento Knoxx Performance (6:00-7:30pm, Cook DeWitt)
  • November 3: Latino Student Union Dinner/Dance (40th Year Celebration) (8:00pm-12:00am, Grand River Room, Kirkhof)
  • November 11: Día de los Muertos (6:00-8:00pm, Niemeyer Lobby)
  • September 13 (4-6pm, 1201 Kirkhof): Kickoff Meeting
  • October 4 (time/location TBA)
  • November 1 (time/location TBA)
  • December 6 (time/location TBA)
  • January 10 (time/location TBA)
  • February 7 (time/location TBA)
  • March 14 (time/location TBA)
  • April 4 (time/location TBA)
Queer Connections

Queer Connections is specifically designed to match LGBTQIA+ undergraduate students with OUT faculty, staff, or graduate students. Mentoring pairs meet regularly over a six-month period, based on student day/time availability. Student registration ends on September 30, 2018.

  • December 5 (4-6pm, Grand River Room, Kirkhof)
  • April 3 (4-6pm, Pere Marquette, Kirkhof)

Page last modified September 6, 2018