GVSU Vice President of Student Affairs, Jenny Hall-Jones

I have been so excited to join the Laker family. For those of you who don’t know, I most recently arrived to GVSU after working at Ohio University (my alma mater) for the past 25 years. I spent the first third or so of that career in Residence Life, then spending the last part in both the Dean of Students and Vice President’s offices.
When I told people at OU that I was taking the inaugural VPSA position here at Grand Valley, they were dumbfounded that I would leave my alma mater.  It was the perfect decision for me — let me tell you why! When I first researched GVSU, I was excited about the potential of working for President Mantella, a person who had a social work undergraduate, a higher education doctorate, and who had worked in enrollment and student affairs earlier in her career. (And who had been an RA, like me!) Check. I also was intrigued by working in a liberal arts intensive undergraduate focused institution, but one that still had a higher education and student affairs graduate program, both so important to our work in student affairs. Check. Lifting up the student voice by creating a Division of Student Affairs as a direct report to the President? Check. I regularly vacation in Michigan. Check. Why not apply?

During my screening interview with the committee, there were four students invited to the interview and three were physically present. Double Check! The committee asked such good and thoughtful questions that made our hour together fly by. I was more intrigued and did more homework. I continued to be excited by reading the Reach Higher 2025 strategy and the inclusive process to get there. Empowering students, eliminating equity gaps, and making sure that the institution is competitive in a lifelong learning space? Student Affairs can thrive in supporting those strategies. And then I was invited to the campus interview. I met people who are passionate about students, their work, and this community — a community who founded this institution. I got to tour some amazing living learning spaces, saw the synergy of having a residential rural(ish) campus AND an urban campus. I was asked to present on well-being (a personal passion of mine). So many checkmarks! And then there was the most beautiful sunset, and the blue and white lights lit up by the Kirkhof Center, and that was pretty much it. I was in love.  I called my husband, my mentors, and my colleagues on the way back south and said to each of them, “I will go if they offer”.  I’m so glad that you all believed in me the way I believe in you. Thanks for asking me to join this amazing place. I’m inspired to begin our work together and look forward to learning with and from you in the days ahead. 

Anchor Up!

Jenny Hall-Jones, PhD
Vice President, Division of Student Affairs

Save the Date

Please save the date for a reception to welcome Jenny Hall-Jones on March 16, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Alumni House on the Allendale Campus. Please RSVP using the button below. Look for the official invitation in your inbox as well!
RSVP to attend the welcome reception for Jenny Hall-Jones
Students sitting at a table working on service projects during MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity Speaker, Lisa Knight, addressing students during the MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity

MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity

Nearly 100 participants gathered on January 22 to participate in the MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity. This event is coordinated by the Office of Student Life’s Community Service Learning Center in collaboration with the MLK Week Executive Planning Committee. The goal of the event is to educate participants about the Civil Rights movement, as well as inspire them to engage in and give back to their communities.

Lisa Knight, African American multi business owner and community thought leader, spoke at the event, sharing her personal story and the importance of using your unique gifts within our community and service as a form living hope. A “for students, by students” panel discussion featured young people working for change around issues of social and environmental justice. Additionally, attendees completed several projects which included: decorating bags for Kids’ Food Basket, making valentine cards for Senior Neighbors, writing letters to veterans, making dog toys for the Humane Society of Kent County, and making inspirational magnets for the Children’s Advocacy Center.

A variety of workshops took place, as well, including:

·      Supporting Peers with Autism, led by Disability Support Resources
·      Colors of Pride led by the LGBT Resource Center
·      How Your Identity & Activism Intersects with Your Wellness led by Wellness peer educators
·      The Legacy of Leadership facilitated by the Cook Leadership Academy

To learn more about the MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity and other events hosted by the Community Service Learning Center (CLSC), visit the CSLC website.

logo for National Eating Disorder Screen Day featuring a graphic of a scale, broccoli, dumbbell and measuring tape

Free and Confidential 
Eating Disorder Screenings

On Wednesday, February 23, the University Counseling Center will be offering free, confidential eating disorder screenings to all GVSU students, faculty, & staff. Screenings take less than five minutes and help identify those who may be struggling with their mental health.  Even more importantly, screenings foster dialogue around mental health in our community – raising awareness of and connecting students to the University Counseling Center while destigmatizing the use of mental health resources.  

Please encourage students to participate at the locations below and join us for a program exploring the impact of advertising and media on body image at 7 p.m. via Instagram live @gvcounseling.
Kirkhof Center: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Rec Center: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
CHS: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
DeVos: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Seidman: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Free, confidential mental health screenings are also available on the University Counseling Center website.  For more information, please contact the University Counseling Center at 616-331-3266.
Hand creating the GVSU anchor up sign

Nominate a Laker for
I Am Grand Valley 

I am Grand Valley nominations are now open! The I am Grand Valley awards are presented annually to GVSU students who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and consistently showcase what it means to be a Laker. All members of the GVSU community are invited to submit nominations. If you know a student who embodies what it means to be a leader in class, work, or a student organization, consider nominating them for I am Grand Valley.
Submit a nomination for I Am Grand Valley
students smiling during a football game

Vice President Student Advisory Board (VSAB)

Recruitment for the 2022-2023 Vice President Student Advisory Board (VSAB) has begun and we need your help spreading the word! As a board member, students will provide feedback and advice to the new Vice President for Student Affairs about the student experience here at Grand Valley State University. 

Applications are currently open and will close March 15 at 12 p.m. Please share the VSAB website with any undergraduate or graduate student who may be interested. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to have their voices heard!

President Mantella standing with Laker Esports team during the Esports Center grand opening Michael Przydzial and Head of Esports, Christopher Bilski address the crowd at the Laker Esports Center grand opening President Mantella standing with Michael Przydzial and Head of Esports, Christopher Bilski at the Laker Esports Center grand opening

Laker Esports Center Celebrates Grand Opening

The grand opening at the Laker Esports Center was a multi-faceted event that featured remarks from President Mantella, Acting Director of Recreation & Wellness Michael Przydzial, and Head of Esports, Christopher Bilski. Guests had the opportunity to tour the space and interact with students from the competitive team and Esports Club. Following the remarks, an exhibition match between Davenport University and our Rocket League team treated fans to a thrilling seven-game series decided in overtime.  

Bilski thought the event was a massive success, in that it allowed guests the opportunity to both learn more about the Laker Esports Center and esports on campus and provided them a taste of the energy and passion present in competitive events! Overall, we had 50-60 people attend, including staff, faculty, and students from both GVSU and a local high school! More information about the Laker Esport Center can be found on the Recreation and Wellness website.

Learn more about the Laker Esports Center

DEI Committee Meeting Dates

DSA's DEI Committee will continue to meet this semester to review what our sister schools are doing in terms of DEI work and to explore implicit bias training opportunities. Anyone interested is welcome to attend and join in this work! See below for future Winter 2022 semester meeting dates.

Wednesday, March 2, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
Wednesday, March 16, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
Wednesday, March 30, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
Wednesday, April 13, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
Wednesday, April 27, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
Wednesday, May 11, 2-3 p.m. - Location TBD
For questions about this committee, please contact Takeelia Garrett (garrettt@gvsu.edu), DEI Committee Chair.
Students gathered outside in winter jackets

Residence Life Offers Free
Programming to Students

In an effort to provide students the opportunity to beat the winter "blahs", Residence Life is offering free programming for all students every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in The Blue Connection and every Thursday at 8 p.m. in Holton-Hooker Living Center Housing. Each day features a different theme or activity including goal setting, vision board making, Jeopardy, Just Dance, painting, learning how to be MoneySmart, Mario Kart, planting herbs, etc. – just to name a few!

DSA Training & Development

GVSU Division of Student Affairs, 2021-2022 Training & Development
From Assessment (UGG?!) to Assessment (YAY!!): Understanding the Positive Impact Assessment Has in Your Work With Students

Join Colleen Bailey, Associate Director of Housing & Residence Life, and Kate Harmon, Acting Associate Dean of Students, as we explore the overall university systems of assessment and reporting to provide a big picture view of assessment at GVSU. Staff will learn about university assessment, best practices in student affairs assessment, and tips to incorporate assessment as a regular and ongoing practice in departmental support of students.
Wednesday, February 23, 10 - 11 a.m. (Virtual)

Film Series Discussion

When They See Us (Part 3 & 4)
February 17, 12 - 1 p.m. (Virtual)

*Hosted by: Meghan Veltri

*RSVP required to receive zoom link.

DSA Professional Development Scholarship
Looking to attend a conference this semester, but low on funds? Apply for our DSA Professional Development Scholarship!
Takeelia Garret with son, Jermarrio

Meet the Division:

Takeelia L. Garrett,
Student Ombuds

Name: Takeelia L. Garrett
Title: Student Ombuds
Position Description: I meet with students privately to listen to their issues with faculty, staff, or their peers; give them resources and advocate for systemic changes. I am basically the liaison between the student and the university.
Share something about yourself that others may not know: I am the second oldest of four children. Also, I was certified as a Legal Secretary through a Co-op program in High School.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your work at GV? I enjoy karaoke and spending time with my son, Jermarrio.
What is your favorite or funniest college memory, either as a student or as a staff? My favorite college memory was studying abroad in Kingston, England. It was the best experience ever!! I met so many fantastic people and had amazing experiences. I encourage ALL students to study abroad if possible.
What do you love about helping college students? I LOVE helping them to find out what they are passionate about. I love seeing the growth in them, from unknowing first year student to determined and ready to take on the world.
student smiling while working on laptop students walking on campus
Grand Valley State University
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