Winter 2016 GVMagazine - (Page 21)

MEIJER CAMPUS: CONNECTING GRAND VALLEY TO THE LAKESHORE by Michele Coffill G abriela Diaz may be in her first year at Grand Valley, but she carries the resume of an experienced, veteran student. She is a student worker, member of the Latino Student Union and the Criminal Justice Students Association, and a volunteer for GVSU Pals, a student organization that mentors area at-risk youth. Diaz works at the Meijer Campus in Holland, staffing the front reception desk, scheduling appointments and answering phone calls. She transferred to Grand Valley in May after earning an associate's degree from Grand Rapids Community College. Diaz, a Holland resident, took many of her GRCC classes at the Meijer Campus, and she credits that campus - its location and its people - to getting her off to a solid start during her first year at Grand Valley. "I enjoy being able to work in Holland for Grand Valley," Diaz said. "I enjoy this campus. I wanted to have a college experience without living on the Allendale Campus." Simone Jonaitis, executive director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, said the Meijer Campus,like Grand Valley's other regional centers, adapts and connects with the community it serves. The university has centers in Muskegon, Traverse City and Detroit. "The Meijer Campus was originally created to provide education and opportunities for that community," Jonaitis said. "The economy and Grand Valley have changed since then, which means we have to become more adept at connecting the community with the institution." Being at the table with community leaders is important. Lisa Miller, director of the Meijer Campus, said she and other staff members routinely serve on nonprofit boards or assist with community initiatives. "We're reading, listening to others and aware of what's going on in the community," Miller said. "We used to ask to be invited on committees or to help with projects, now they're calling and asking us." Lena Del Real is the executive director of Latin Americans United for Progress, a long-standing Holland nonprofit organization that serves as a portal and provides resources for the lakeshore's Hispanic and Latino communities. The Meijer Campus hosts regular college visits for LAUP youth groups, and sponsors several of its annual events and programs. PRESENCE ON THE LAKESHORE In the late 1990s, Meijer Inc. donated land to Grand Valley near the superstore's Holland location on 16th Street. The university constructed a campus on Waverly Street that would house its multiple continuing education programs that had been offered in Ottawa County for years. The campus was dedicated in 1998. Since that time, the Meijer Campus has grown perhaps not in physical size but exponentially in terms of responding to community educational needs, providing resources and services and serving as a partner on many Holland initiatives. From a college pipeline to degree completion to community connections, the Meijer Campus in Holland serves an integral role in the lakeshore community. 21 Grand Valley Magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winter 2016 GVMagazine

Campus News
Focal Point
Donor Impact
A Team of Their Own
Meijer Campus
Empowered. Educated. Engineers.
Breathing Life into Historic Sites
Q&A Snell and Stanton
Alumni News
Off the Path

Winter 2016 GVMagazine