It’s almost springtime, and the change of seasons not only brings warmer weather, but brings hope, new growth and blossoming all around. This is true for all of us, too. Grand Valley and our Division of Student Affairs are well-positioned for a sort of “blossoming” as we recently learned of the Board of Trustees’ endorsement of the Reach Higher 2025 university-wide strategy.

The DSA will be digging in (another springtime pun intended!) to work on aligning Student Affairs with Reach Higher 2025; determining the important issues and how to address them as part of our contribution to the three Reach Higher 2025 commitments, as well as reviewing our mission, vision, values, and priorities. This is where you and our DSA colleagues come in!

Next week, DSA staff members will receive a survey that will inform the DSA Reach Higher Committee on how well our current mission, vision, and value statements align with Reach Higher 2025. Additionally, there are some questions related to shaping the future priorities of DSA. Your answers are valuable, confidential, and participation is voluntary.  It is my hope that you will take a few minutes out of your day to provide this important feedback. 

Thank you in advance for your contribution to this very important project.

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

Community Outreach Week

Join fellow Lakers for Community Outreach Week March 21 - March 27, and give back with service! During Community Outreach Week, students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to get involved and give back to their communities. The Office of Student Life Community Service Learning Center encourages campus units and departments, student organizations, and individuals to dedicate time to volunteering in your community during this week dedicated to service.

If you would like to coordinate a service project or find a way to give back, please reach out to the Community Service Learning Center ( or Gigi Ward, Graduate Assistant for Civic Engagement, ( The Community Service Learning Center will also offer on-campus service opportunities. For more information, check out the Community Service Learning Center website.

Be sure to track your service hours in LakerLink and share your photos and highlights via email ( as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook so we can feature you!
Twitter Facebook Instagram
Student reading against a tree outside on campus

Free Mental Health Screening

Please encourage students to attend our final campus mental health screening of the year, Thursday, April 7. The University Counseling Center will be offering free, confidential alcohol and other drug screenings to all GVSU students, faculty, and staff. Screenings are a best practice in prevention and campus wellness. In addition to identifying students who might be struggling, they destigmatize the use of services and introduce students to available resources. Join us in promoting student mental health on campus!
Kirkhof: 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.
Student Life Awards
The Office of Student Life hosts the annual Student Life Awards program to highlight amazing student leaders, student organizations and university entities for their dedication to the GVSU Community. Students, registered organizations, and university faculty/staff/departments may be nominated for several awards including:
Programming Awards
Individual Awards

Organization Awards

Community Service Learning Center (CSLC) Awards
Nominate your favorite program, student organization, or leader by March 24 by visiting the Student Life Awards website.
Submit a nomination for Student Life Awards
Students with their family outside on campus Students playing a game of cornhole toss on campus

Laker Family Weekend planning is underway

Laker Family Weekend 2022 will take place September 16 - 18, and planning is already in full swing! If your department, team, or organization is interested in hosting an activity or event for our Lakers, their families, and supporters, please contact Megan Wierenga ( in the Office of Student Life, to be added to the weekend's schedule of programming. Let's show our students' supporters what it's like to be a Laker! Anchor up! 

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.
Monday, March 21, 2-3 p.m. - Via Zoom
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 (, DEI Committee Chair.

DSA Training & Development

GVSU Division of Student Affairs, 2021-2022 Training & Development
DSA Spring Celebration and CSAL Presentations
Join the Division of Student Affairs in celebrating the end of the academic year! Staff updates and conference learnings will be shared, along with Master’s project/thesis round table discussions with CSAL graduate students. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. Learn more about the celebration on the Division of Student Affairs website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2-4 p.m.
Kirkhof Center, RM 2250 (Grand River Room)
RSVP here

Film Series Discussion
The Infiltrators — Join our hosts, Estefany Paniagua-Pardo & Thalia Guerra-Flores, as we discuss The Infiltrators, a film about a group of undocumented youth – Dreamers – who deliberately get detained by Border Patrol in order to infiltrate a for-profit detention center.
Thursday, March 17, 12-1 p.m.
(Virtual Discussion via Zoom)

Get Out — Join our host, Takeelia Garrett, as we discuss this psychological thriller about a young African American man visiting his white girlfriend’s parents’ home for the weekend.

 Thursday, April 21, 12-1 p.m.
(Virtual Discussion via Zoom)
RSVP here

GVSU student ice climing in the Upper Peninsula during Michigan Ice Fest

RecWell Outdoor Adventures Attends Michigan Ice Fest

Grand Valley students and alum attended the Michigan Ice Fest February 10-13 in Munising, Michigan. Organized by a local Upper Peninsula store, Downwind Sports, this annual event provides the opportunity to come together to celebrate ice climbing. RecWell’s Outdoor Adventures partnered with the Hospitality & Tourism Management Department to offer students the chance to attend this incredible event.

Novice and intermediate climbers participated in a workshop led by a professional athlete who also demonstrated some of the latest and greatest equipment. Experienced ice climbers were invited to test themselves on world-class routes on the edge of Lake Superior. Participants visited the vendor booths to talk gear with reps from some of the best outdoor brands, attended a presentation featuring a pro athlete’s latest international project, and also swapped climbing stories with friends during the evening social events.

This year’s event was a definite success for many reasons including having a full roster of 12 GVSU students on the trip. While many of the students have visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, very few have visited in the wintertime, and even fewer have climbed a frozen waterfall. The excursion provided students with a fantastic new perspective on one of Michigan’s iconic outdoor spaces while introducing them to a new active sport. Students not only experienced a new activity, but made new friends with whom they can participate in outdoor adventures in the future! It was apparent that the GVSU group of students were making some great connections, as they were some of the most engaged attendees during the presentations and were the first on the dance floor and last to leave the social events in the evening.

Students were nervous about all the unknowns, excited by the adventure and beauty of the lakeshore, and challenged by cold temps and climbing. It was a great trip, and RecWell’s Outdoor Adventures team is already looking forward to participating again next year.
students walking on campus

Ombuds at GVSU

As a reminder, both the Employee Ombuds and Student Ombuds are available as resources for both our staff and our students. Keep reading for more information on how each can be of assistance.
Elisa Salazar, MA, MS, LMSW
Contact Info:
After hours phone calls: 6-8 p.m. 
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 616-250-3655
133 Lake Michigan Hall
Reasons to reach out to your Ombuds:
  • I do not know how to proceed.
  • I am trying to avoid escalation conflict.
  • I feel unfairly or insensitively treated
  • I believe that my due process rights have been violated
  • I feel subjected to intimidating, bullying, or toxic behavior
  • I feel that I am not being listened to. 
  • I feel powerless. 
  • I need coaching on dispute resolution skills.
  • I believe the University should improve its policies, procedures, and patterns of treatment.
  • I am having issues with a colleague.
Takeelia L. Garrett, M.Ed.
232 Student Services Building

Reasons to refer students to the Student Ombuds:
  • They need a listening ear from someone impartial
  • They are not aware of the resources available to help them solve a problem
  • They need an explanation of university policies and/or procedures
  • They need coaching on how to have a difficult conversation with a roommate/friend/faculty member
  • They need a private place to discuss complaints or to consider options
  • Referral agent
  • The student needs unbiased feedback
  • They need help to minimize an escalating conflict
  • They have university policy or procedural concerns
  • They feel that their due process rights were violated
  • They need to be heard within a judgement free zone.
Bobby Nielson standing in front of a colorful brick wall

Meet the Division:

Bobby Nielsen
Creative Services and Production Manager
Name: Bobby Nielsen
Title: Creative Services and Production Manager
Position Description: I lead the Office of Student Life’s Promotions Office team in providing creative services to campus clients in order to engage, inspire, and inform the larger campus community. I also serve as a producer for video projects and event production manager for institutionally important and highly visible events such as new student programs, Convocation, and Commencement.
Share something about yourself that others may not know: I interned through the Television Academy and worked on shows such as “Dance Moms”.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your work at GV? I enjoy biking, skiing, and watching new episodes of drama shows.
What is your favorite or funniest college memory, either as a student or as a staff? One of my favorite memories from undergrad would be creating my thesis film “For the Love of Jazz”. I was cinematographer for this 40+ minute jazz musical. The film couldn’t play at the Film/Video Showcase since it was over the 10-minute time limit, so we ended up premiering it at Celebration Cinema to a full house. 
What do you love about helping college students? I enjoy mentoring my student staff and providing high impact experiences in the creative field, preparing them for their next steps after college.
Campus in springtime students sitting in hammocks on campus
Grand Valley State University
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