As we approach the end of the academic year, I know many of you may be experiencing a range of emotions compounded by the various tasks that wrapping up a typical semester brings. We must acknowledge though that this year, this semester, and in particular the past two weeks have been anything but typical. 
I’ve only been a part of the Grand Valley community for a short while, but in meeting with each of you I could see the resiliency, passion, and dedication to our students. COVID-19 was still very much a part of our world this past year, and you’ve continually risen to the challenge for our students and your teams. As we are slowly seeing signs of spring and anticipating the warmth of summer, we also have been seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Thank you for continuing to navigate through it.
No doubt, in the past 12 months, our GV community has experienced loss, faced challenges, and adversity that we also must acknowledge. The recent events in the Grand Rapids community have sparked anger and hurt, and have also created important conversations. I know that you will once again rise to the occasion in supporting our students, but I want to emphasize the importance of supporting your own well-being. Please continue to care for each other and yourselves.
I’m aware that in the dark, though, that there are always small cracks of light. We have seen these in moments of celebration and recognition — a few are mentioned throughout this newsletter below, along with great achievements and progress signaling positive change for the future of Grand Valley. This includes the approval of Reach Higher 2025; an integral step toward making an impact on the communities and societies in which Lakers live, work, and play. I am hopeful and excited for what is to come in not only our next academic year, but for many years ahead.
I encourage you to make time over the next few months to pause, exhale, and refresh — whatever that may look like for you. Please let me know how the division or I can specifically help support this. 

Thank you again for all of your hard work.

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

Five students with award in front of photo booth backdrop. Two people on stage hosting the I Am GV awards Student standing with award
Congratulations to the I Am Grand Valley and Student Life Awards Recipients!
On April 7, the I Am Grand Valley and Student Life Awards recipients were honored in consecutive ceremonies to celebrate their involvement, activity, engagement, and service on campus. The Student Life Awards celebrate the winners’ growth and leadership and are separated into the programming, organization, Community Service Learning Center, club sport, and individual award categories. Over 200 of the 348 nominees for I Am Grand Valley were in attendance to receive their awards, and the ceremony for the recipients of the 23 Student Life Awards was attended by about 150 students.
GVSU Children's Enrichment Center kids reading with teacher
Children’s Enrichment Center Contributes to Positive GV Climate, Earns Over $120,000 in Grants
Of the organizations within Grand Valley State University, particularly during the pandemic, the Children’s Enrichment Center is notable for the significant contributions it has made to GVSU’s welcoming, resilient and innovative atmosphere.

Established in 1972, the Children’s Enrichment Center (CEC) is a licensed curriculum-based childcare center located on Grand Valley’s Allendale campus. The Center serves over 50 families, offering preschool, daily care, and weekly lesson plans to children aged two and a half to twelve. Their families come from Grand Valley faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the surrounding Allendale community. The staff is composed of volunteers and teachers, many of them GV education students seeking to gain hands-on experience.
Since the pandemic began, the Center has been readjusting its offerings to comply with safety guidelines, starting with sending weekly take-home learning materials to families. The staff also performed a modified version of their traditional preschool 3 graduation ceremony by meeting the families at their homes with balloons and graduation diplomas.
Later, the CEC began reincorporating in-person learning accompanied by classroom restrictions and mask mandates. Attendees have returned to integrated activities in on-campus locations like the Mackinac Bridge and the Recreation Center. The young students use these opportunities to gain familiarity with campus culture and form connections with Grand Valley students.
Through hard work, the Center has earned over $120,000 in grants. In 2020-2021, the CEC received a series of grants totaling $61,800 for administrative expenses and nearly $25,000 to be given back to CEC families as tuition credits from the Childcare Relief Grant. Additionally, the CEC received $14,500 to be paid out in staff bonuses from the Childcare Stabilization Grant, and also received an additional round in January of 2022 for a combined $120,000 + total. The Center will be able to apply this year for another round of similar grant funding.
Daphnea Sutherland, the director of the Children’s Enrichment Center, is proud of the hard work and commitment her staff has shown over the years, and she is proud of the families who have shown overwhelming support, care, and devotion over the last two years of the pandemic. The attendees are able to start their commitment and love of Grand Valley early, and she hopes that the relationship between GVSU and the Center will continue to blossom.
As for the future, the CEC is planning on opening up opportunities for a camp program at an additional location in order to serve more families who are in need. We commend the Children’s Enrichment Center for their work and look forward to watching them expand their service and their valuable role at Grand Valley.
Audience at Yung Gravy concert Performer Yung Gravy on stage
Campus Activities Board Hosts Successful Spring Concert
On April 2, Grand Valley hosted a very successful spring concert with headliner Yung Gravy, a Minnesotan TikTok sensation. Students celebrated the end of a cold Michigan winter by singing and dancing to the artist’s music. After tickets initially sold out, more tickets were made available, leading to a concert attended by roughly 4,500 students and community members. The event turned out to be the largest GVSU concert in recent history, even from prior to the pandemic. The Campus Activities Board looks forward to bringing back this event and hosting similar large-scale concerts in the future.

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, 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 (, DEI Committee Chair.

DSA Training & Development

GVSU Division of Student Affairs, 2021-2022 Training & Development

Thank you to all of the DSA Training & Development Committee members for your work in creating professional development opportunities for the division this year, and thank you to those who attended one of our events!
Keep an eye on your email this summer for 2022-2023 professional development opportunities.
Film Series Discussion

Minari — Join us as we discuss Minari, a film about a Korean family acclimating to life in Arkansas in the 1980s.

Friday, May 20, 12-1 p.m.
(Virtual Discussion via Zoom)

RSVP here
Students in the Laker Esports center

GVPD Esports Classic

The Recreation & Wellness Department collaborated with the Grand Valley Police Department (GVPD) and the student Esports Club to host the first-ever GVPD Esports Classic at the Laker Esports Center on Saturday, April 9. The event featured a Valorant tournament for students, and a show match between students and a combined team of GVPD members, Coach Bilski, and the Valorant leader of the Esports Club. Over 30 students and 6 teams participated, and each registrant was treated to pizza and given a commemorative t-shirt!

This was one of RecWell's best events of the year, both in terms of participation and the energy at the event. The Laker Esports Center was at full capacity, and a series of close matches created an electric atmosphere. It was also a great opportunity for students to connect with members of the GVPD, and students loved some of their interactive demonstrations!

Ben Witt with his family standing on a boat.

Meet the Division:

Ben Witt
Director, Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Name: Ben Witt
Title: Director, Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Position Description: In my role I oversee all student and organizational misconduct at GVSU using a restorative approach that seeks to repair the harm caused by misconduct while strengthening relationships.
Share something about yourself that others may not know: I never planned to work in student affairs! I actually started my career in law enforcement. I originally planned to complete a master’s program at Central Michigan University and then return to that field; but ended up finding this work so rewarding that I have stayed ever since.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your work at GV? I enjoy spending time with my family and the many activities that my two kids are involved in. I also love doing anything outdoors. I hunt, fish, ski, hike, and spend as much time on Michigan’s lakeshores as I can during the summer months.
What is your favorite or funniest college memory, either as a student or as a staff? I am a GVSU alumnus and my favorite college memories were of the first trip to Alabama for football’s national championship appearance. Even though we lost, it was so cool to see the student body storm the field after the semifinal win and help rip down the goalpost for the first time in school history!
What do you love about helping college students? I enjoy providing education outside of the classroom. I think I learned as much outside of the classroom from the GVSU experience as I did from my studies, and it is so cool to be able to give back to our students in a positive way.
Valerie Palmber twin baby boys

DSA Good News!

Valerie Palmer (Office of Student Life) welcomed twin boys, Joshua and Micah, in late February.
All are adjusting well, including their older brother Eli! 
Congratulations, Palmer family!
Grand Valley State University
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