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Back on the Field


GV anticipates fierce 50th football season

GV updates face mask requirements before the start of fall semester COVID-19 | A2

Campus Board of Activities brings back events for Welcome Week STUDENT LIFE | A9

M O N D A Y, A U G U ST 2 , 2 02 1 // VO L . 5 6 N O. 1

@ GV L A N T H O R N



The GVSU community has had a cumulative total of 3,349 cases since Aug. 1, 2020. The university’s update for this brief was from Thursday, July 29. Through testing results this past week, GVSU’s Virus Action team have so far reported six current active cases including two staff members, one on-campus student, one “off-campus Ottawa” student, one “off-campus Kent” student and one “off-campus other” student with active COVID-19 cases. “Current active cases” is the count of positive cases reported to the Virus Action Team over the past ten days. This is an estimate of those currently in isolation, assuming a ten-day symptomatic period following the reporting of a positive test result. Actual periods of isolation are specific to the individual and determined by the county health department. Testing and Incidence: GVSU’s own testing program has performed 88,886 tests overall since August 21, 2021, for a cumulative positivity rate of 0.00% from the latest update as of last week. A total of 271 tests were performed over the last seven days. “GV Surveillance” includes the GV/ Spectrum administered programs of randomized testing, regular testing of high-risk groups, and invited testing of individuals connected to potential clusters. A calendar is available. “GV Total” includes surveillance testing plus all symptomatic/exposure tests administered by Spectrum. Testing and Incidence: GVSU encourages all students, faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. According to the COVID-19 data dashboard, 80% vaccination rate in the GVSU community is required to reach herd immunity and minimal virus transmission. Currently, approximately 30% of students report being fully vaccinated, while approximately 75% of faculty and staff reports being fully vaccinated.


GV updates indoor face covering policy BY JACOB DEWEERD NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University’s face covering policy has been updated for the upcoming Fall 2021 semester, no longer requiring vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings indoors in most areas. The new policy arrived with the June 21 update from the Virus Action Team (VAT) which also states that areas like classrooms, labs, and COVID-19 testing sites will still require face coverings to be worn regardless of vaccination status. The face covering policy has not changed for unvaccinated individuals. They are still required to mask up in all indoor areas except their dorm rooms when only they and their roommates are present, dining areas when eating or drinking, and enclosed spaces when they are the sole occupant, according to the VAT. The decision to update the face covering policy was made, at least in part, because of guidance from the State of Michigan, Campus Readiness Team Chair Rence Meredith said. “Certainly the State of Michigan and MiOSHA executive orders being rescinded played a part in the change but GVSU campuses have been extremely safe spaces throughout the pandemic,” Meredith said. “We are taking small, incremental steps to maintain that safety with a goal of getting back to normal.” GVSU is seeing encouraging vaccination statistics as the Fall 2021 semester ap-

MASK UP: GVSU’s new face covering policy has been announced for the fall semester. All students are required to wear coverings in labs, classrooms and COVID-19 testing sites. GVL | ARCHIVES

proaches. According to the Lakers Together website, nearly 80% of faculty and staff have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 4,000 students have self-reported that they received at least one dose as well. Those numbers also contributed to the updated face covering policy and if they improve, restrictions could be eased even more, Meredith said. “We are basing decisions on the GVSU community and the vaccination rates that exist among faculty, staff and students,” Meredith said. “If we all do the right things, normal is right around the corner.” Despite GVSU’s campuses slowly returning to pre-pandemic normal, there is still a long way to go before face coverings and COVID-19 related restrictions fade away. As

new COVID-19 variants like Delta emerge, stricter guidelines and restrictions could also return to ensure the safety of all GVSU faculty, staff and students. “We continue to monitor state, federal and CDC guidance surrounding COVID-19 variants. We meet regularly with the Ottawa and Kent county health departments and are all actively monitoring the Delta variant,” Greg Sanial, vice president for Finance and Administration and director of the VAT said. “Right now West Michigan is not an area of concern; that obviously could change quickly.” LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


Board of Trustees approved to increase tuition and financial aid


GVSU announced its partnership with Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon health departments in a program that tests wastewater for genetic markers of COVID-19 over the next two years. Pei-Lan Tsou, associate professor of cell and molecular biology, and Sheila Blackman, professor of biology and cell and molecular biology, will work primarily with samples from Kent county. While researchers at the Annis Water Institute in Muskegon will partner with the Ottawa County Health Department to process samples from Muskegon and Ottawa counties. The partnership comes as a result of grants awarded to the Kent Health Department and Ottawa Health Department by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Kent County Health Department received a $3.3 million grant for wastewater testing, and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health received a $1.7 million grant for wastewater testing in Ottawa and Muskegon counties.



REVENUE: The cost of tuition has been raised 2.4% for the upcoming academic year. It is the smallest increase since 2004. GVL | ARCHIVES

Students will see the smallest increase in tuition since 2004 for the 2021-22 academic year. The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition by 2.4% on June 25. Vice President for University Relations Matthew McLogan explained the factors which contributed to this decision.  “The board knows that the tuition and the financial aid decision within the budget are the most important to students and the most important part of the budget,” McLogan said. “The reason it is so carefully treated by the board is because it is a commitment that we make to the students, faculty, staff and the communities that host our campuses that Grand Valley is going to remain stable and our quality will remain high.” The university has two revenue lines: state appropriation and tuition. In the past thirty years, state appropriation has become a much smaller part of the university’s revenue stream. The state appropria-

tion is still unknown by the university for the coming fiscal year, so the board acted on the best information available on the day of the decision. About 30 years ago, two-thirds of GVSU’s revenue came from the state and about onethird came from tuition. Now, McLogan said this ratio has more than flipped. Currently, 84% of the university’s revenue is made up of tuition and 16% is state appropriation.  While they have had to increase tuition, the board has worked hard to keep the increase as low as possible. McLogan said it is a goal to keep GVSU accessible and affordable for students.  The Board of Trustees also approved a $5.4 million increase in financial aid at the meeting on June 25. This brings the total amount of institutional financial aid to $70.1 million. “We have been extremely careful in how the university spends the resources we have been given,” McLogan said. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE



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Editor-in-Chief ZACK GOODROW Associate Editor MARY RACETTE



Promotions Manager ALEX DAGOSTINO


Vaccination incentive program pushes GV student body towards a brighter semester BY SARA COLLINS NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

With the fall semester right around the corner, Grand Valley State University students have been highly encouraged by the university to not only receive the COVID-19 vaccine before classes begin but to fill out the online self-assessment form in order to participate in the school’s vaccine incentive program. The month of July was designated as “Lakers Vax Up” month, featuring an incentive program developed by the GVSU Virus Action Team. The program offered students a chance to verify their vaccination records through the daily self-assessment form online. By doing so, students were entered into a raffle. 1,000 students will be chosen on August 4, 11, 18, and 25 to win $100, according to the Lakers Together website. Greg Sanial, Vice President for Finance and Administration and director of the GVSU Virus Action Team, encourages students to get vaccinated and fill out the form. “We want 100% of people to report their vaccination status,” Sanial said. “The higher the percentage that are vaccinated the better, but right now what we really need and encourage is to report your vaccination status.”  Although many GVSU students may be ready to attend fall classes fully vaccinated,

VAX UP: Lakers have been given an incentive to get vaccinated for the upcoming semester. They have the opportunity to be one of the 1,000 students to win the raffle for $100. COURTESY | GVSU

Sanial said that the exact percentage of vaccinated students at GVSU remains unknown. “The overall problem we have is we don’t have a good handle on the overall vaccination status of the students,” Sanial said. This is where the incentive program comes into play, Sanial said. “The idea was to reach out to students, es-

pecially those that had been already vaccinated that just haven’t filled out a self-assessment and told us,” Sanial said. “They could get entered into the raffle and have the opportunity to win the $100,” said Sanial. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE



Business Manager RACHEL MCDOWELL Asst. Business Manager DAYTON HAMMON

At the Lanthorn, we strive to bring you the most accurate news possible. If we make a mistake, we want to make it right. If you find any errors in fact in the Lanthorn, let us know by calling 616-331-2464 or by emailing The Grand Valley Lanthorn is published weekly by Grand Valley State University students 31 times a year. One copy of this newspaper is available free of charge to any member of the Grand Valley Community. For additional copies, at $1 each, please contact our business offices.


GVPRSSA recognized with multiple awards from West Michigan Public Relations Society of America BY GILLIAN HANTON NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

On June 10th, the Grand Valley Public Relations Student Society of America (GVPRSSA) received a total of seven honors at the 2021 PRoof Awards, hosted by the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA). GVPRSSA and its members are no strangers to this success. Since its incep-

The Lanthorn is published on recycled paper and is printed with soy bean ink. This means that our newspaper is entirely compostable. Help us do our part to be kind to the environment by recycling or composting this newspaper after you enjoy reading it. POSTMASTER: Please send form 3579 to: Grand Valley Lanthorn 0051 Kirkhof Center Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI 49401

WINNERS: GVPRSSA takes home a total of seven honors this June at the 2021 PRoof Awards. COURTESY | GVSU SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS

tion in the 1990s, GVPRSSA has cultivated a reputation for excellence by effectively preparing students for professional careers in Communications and Public Relations, with the help of workshops, educational trips, and speakers working in the industries, according to their website. Their success has continued in recent years, with the society winning a multitude of awards for its innovation and dedication in these fields, GVPRSSA President Emma Nelson said.   “We continuously keep up the quality effort put in by our former members and want to see our organization grow to its potential,” Nelson said. “There are countless professionals who dedicate their time and guidance to members which contributes to our preparedness and success.”  At this year’s virtual conference, GVPRSSA brought home several gold awards and a silver award in categories such as “Campaigns” and “Tactics” for their efforts in various projects. These projects include their podcast, “PR Hangover”, work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,

and their Disability Support Resources. In addition to the awards won by GVPRSSA, its student-run PR firm, GrandPR, received recognition for their COVID-19 Response.  However, the highest honor was awarded to the society for their online event series, “PRSSA ReImagined.”  “PRSSA ReImagined is a virtual programming partnership,” Nelson said. “Due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to host our normal programming, so PRSSA ReImagined gave us the opportunity to connect with more students and professionals from different parts of the country.”  With the help of PRSSA chapters at the University of Memphis, West Texas A&M University, Samford University, and many others, GVPRSSA was able to host a variety of speakers with experience in public relations, Nelson said. For its ingenuity, “PRSSA ReImagined” received a gold award as well as “Best in Show.” LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE




Lanthorn Editorial Board asks, “Does GVSU need a vaccine mandate?”



Freshman year again


I’m going into my sophomore year at Grand Valley State University, yet it feels like my freshman year. Who could have predicted that the first time I actually go to an in-person class since I gradu-

ated from high school in March of 2020 would be my sophomore year of college? Not me. My friend, from my hometown, is coming to GVSU as a freshman and I can only give her limited advice about a “normal” freshman year. I have no experience with sports, football games, in-person classes, food options on campus. My transition was completely different. Everything that I had dreamed of for my freshman year was ruined all because of COVID-19. For the first time since sixth grade, I’m immensely worried about going to class. I am so accustomed to sitting in my dorm room in my pajamas, half asleep through my Zoom classes. I feel as if no one is going to understand how hard it’s going to be for students this year. Not just college students, but all students to transition from mostly online, to in-person.

This transition is going to have to be done with almost no help. My freshman year was rough to get used to. I had to learn Blackboard entirely by myself. Not a single professor taught us how to use it. I can’t tell you how many times I cried because I had the assignments done but couldn’t find the turn in spot and it became late. I never had to use Zoom until I came to GVSU. Also, like Blackboard, I had to navigate Zoom alone. If students are expected to use these platforms the least the university can do is try to be more understanding about this transition. This year especially, we need extra help from professors, staff, and parents. This is stressful to most students.


Reviving the 2014 aesthetic less than a decade later


As I set foot into Forever 21 last week, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia as the mannequins were dressed straight out of a grainy Polaroid from 2014: tennis skirts,

meticulously distressed band tees, knockoff Dr. Martens and all. The racks were lined with red and black flannels layered over cropped, bleached tank tops harboring “edgy” phrases that could’ve been created through a Tumblr buzzword generator.  I was almost overwhelmed at the sight of the store, wondering how these trends and styles were already back not even ten years later than their original popularity.  It felt wrong to contemplate trying one of the outfits advertised at my current age of 22, considering the last time I wore something even relatively close to that style was when I was a sophomore in high school.   As COVID-19 brought the world to a stop just before my senior year of college began, I personally found myself resorting to certain pieces of pop culture for a sense of comfort and a reminder of

a simpler time in my life. I searched “2014 Tumblr aesthetic” on Pinterest to admire the collective obsession with boxed water, succulents, oil slicks in the street, and romanization of cigarettes; all toned down and distorted by pre-made filters on VSCO.  I tore through my vinyl collection in search of artists who peaked at that time: Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Halsey, Lana Del Rey, The Neighbourhood, the list goes on and on.  Soon enough, it felt like all of Twitter and TikTok were on the same nostalgia train, posting about how they too were longing for a time full of teenage angst minus any “real” responsibilities.  


ight as things start to feel like they are going in the direction of a pre-pandemic life, an increase in COVID-19 cases is starting to force government and health officials to make changes to previously loosened regulations. The Delta variant is one of the main causes for concern as it has been identified in all 50 states. This uptick in cases has been reminiscent of the beginning of the pandemic with mask mandates and frequent quarantining. However, unlike the early waves of COVID-19, we are not defenseless. Data has shown that each vaccine has a high efficiency rate, with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines proving to be the most effective. Now that these vaccines have become available for a majority of the college-aged population, the University’s ability to go back to normal seems to depend on student’s decisions to get vaccinated. Some Michigan universities have made the decision for students, requiring them to receive the vaccine. University of Michigan’s vaccine mandate even applies to students who work and learn remotely and is providing limited religious and medical exemptions. GVSU has not yet set a vaccine mandate for students, however, they have repeatedly encouraged students to get vaccinated in email updates. According to a May 2021 study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, just under 47.5% of the college students surveyed were hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and according to GVSU’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard, only 53.1% of students report being fully vaccinated. However, reaching

herd immunity likely necessitates an 80% vaccination rate, and in order to achieve that number, it may be necessary for GVSU to institute a mandate. Many, including German Lopez at Vox, have adopted a common framework, talking about vaccine hesitancy as a spectrum. The continuum ranges from aggressive anti-vaxxers, who refuse to get vaccinated on an ideological basis, to indifferent people who would get vaccinated if they had to, but haven’t had the time or the opportunity. Despite the fact that, in a study from the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities, 22% of Americans will self-identify as anti-vaxxers, it’s possible that we will be able to reach the desired 80% vaccination rate without vaccinations being required by GVSU leadership, as some people who identify as anti-vax might be less extreme in their beliefs as others. But waiting for anti-vax students to change their minds removes the university’s agency, and its ability to protect other students.  At present, the absence of a vaccine mandate asks students and faculty to guess who is and who isn’t vaccinated, trying to make deductions based on limited evidence, like who is wearing, or not wearing, a mask. A policy that requires students and faculty to receive the COVID-19 vaccine would enable the GVSU community to assume that everyone who can get vaccinated has been.  But students, faculty and university leadership might not want to leave a possible outbreak, and a return to remote learning, to chance; and a strategy for avoiding that risk, implemented by other Michigan Universities, is issuing a vaccine mandate.




GV moves-in with new housing requirement BY ELIZABETH SCHANZ NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

In the wake of COVID-19 disruption to in-person classes and on-campus living, Grand Valley State University announced that first year students will be required to live on-campus beginning fall 2021. According to the GVSU housing and residence life website, the decision to require student to live on-campus is supported by data. Some positive outcomes related to living on-campus include higher grade point averages, retention rates, higher graduation rates and the opportunity to better connect with the services and supports provided by Housing and Residence Life.  GVSU offers many different styles of housing in order to accommodate all preferences and needs. Many traditional options for first year housing are found on North Campus, according to the Housing and Residence Life website. Many freshmen stay in styles of housing such as traditional, cluster, suite, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.  Additionally, first year students can stay on South campus where there are living-learning communities, Niemeyer Hon-

NEW POLICY: GVSU has made the decision to require all incoming freshman to live in on-campus housing. There are some exemptions available for specific situations. GVL | JONATHAN LANTIEGNE

ors College dorms, and various apartment styles. On the GVSU downtown campus, housing has also been made available for first year students, according to the Housing and Residence life website. First year student Riley Hohlbein is one of the many students who are living on-campus this year. Hohlbein will be living in the Niemeyer dorm in the four bedroom apartment-style which she chose because of its amenities such

as separate bedrooms and kitchen.   Hohlbein said that she would have lived on-campus during this year regardless of the requirement. “I think there are lots of benefits [to living on-campus], like meeting new people and being so close to all of your classes and activities,” Hohlbein said.  It is possible to receive an exemption from the new on-campus requirements. There are

some instances in which an exemption will automatically be granted, for instance; if the student is two or more years out of high school, has primary or joint custody of a child, is married, will commute from the residence of a parent or guardian or is a veteran, according to the Housing and Residence Life website. Maddeline Hosfelt, an incoming GVSU freshman, made the decision to live off-campus and was granted an exemption. Hosfelt lives in Jenison, Mich. which is a ten minute commute to the GVSU Allendale campus. “I made the decision to live off-campus because I wanted to save money. I live close enough to GV that it isn’t a problem to drive,” Hosfelt said. Even though students may choose to not live on-campus during their first year, upperclassmen still are able to potentially live in housing in the future.  “I do think I will move into housing,” Hosfelt said. “I am waiting to save more money and get an apartment-style place to move into.” The cost of living on the GVSU campus depends primarily on the style of housing. Typically the cost is approximately 3,000 to 5,000 dollars and freshman housing includes the price of a 14 meals a week meal plan, according to the Housing and Residence Life website.


Looking for a roommate? GV students explore their options PAYTON BRAZZIL NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

New and returning students to Grand Valley State University have many choices to make before the upcoming year: What major should I choose? What classes should I take? Where

should I live? Along with an important question asked early on: Who should I room with? Students feel pressure to make the right decision when it comes to new roommates. Whether they decide to go in blind, meet someone online, or happen to know someone in person.

HOUSING: An incoming freshman has a choice to find a roommate or go in blind. Some new Lakers turn to Facebook groups to meet friends and roommates for the upcoming year. COURTESY | GVSU

“I’m lucky because I know someone from high school that I can room with, so I don’t have to go through the whole process of finding someone,” incoming freshman Taylor Siitari said. “We are very similar, so hopefully we get along living together.” Unlike Siitari, many students have trouble finding a roommate. Many, like returning GVSU student Sam Shotroff, turn to their class Facebook page in search of someone compatible.  On the Facebook page, hundreds of students may post pictures of themselves, along with a caption including their likes, dislikes, hobbies, major, hometown and grade and social media handle, Shotroff said. “Every day I would check the GVSU Class of 2024 Facebook page looking for someone who had similar interests with me,” Shotroff said. “I found someone who seemed like we would work well together. I DM’d them and asked if they wanted to room together, they said yes and the rest is history.” The class Facebook pages have become a helpful resource in finding a roommate for many GVSU students. Shotroff said that without a class Facebook page, the process would have been nerve-wracking. 

Another option for students is being assigned a roommate without knowing or meeting them beforehand. For incoming GVSU students, the roommate assignment process has been updated. My College Roomie (MCR), an online matching system, helps students network and engage with others. Interested students can fill out what they are looking for and the algorithm will pair them with a like-minded roommate, according to the GVSU housing and residence life website.  While it’s important to room with someone you get along with, there are many other ways to meet people and make friends during your time at GVSU. “I filled out the GVSU roommate form to find a roommate and was paired with someone who was really similar to me,” GVSU student Josie Hoffman said. “We ended up not meshing very well, but it helped me to get out of my room and meet new people.” Despite the many avenues available to students searching for a roommate, the pressure is on to find the right fit. Regardless of the outcome, tools like social media and MCR are there to support Lakers through the process.



STIFF COMPETITION: The Grand Valley State University Lakers currently compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the GLIAC’s twelve other member institutions. GVL | ARCHIVES

READY TO BE BACK: The Lakers are taking their much-anticipated return to the field on Sept. 2, 2021, playing against the Edinboro “Fighting Scots” in Grand Valley’s first home game of the season. GVL | ARCHIVES

Long awaited GV football returns for 50th season BY HOLLY BIHLMAN SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

After over a year of empty stadiums and cancelled season schedules, the Grand Valley State University football team is finally ready to storm the field again. This Sept. 2, 2021, marks the first game since the 2019 season, kicking off right here at home in Lubbers Stadium against Edinboro. With a new set of recruits that have been training and practicing for over a year now with veteran players and a school full of students that are more than ready to get back to the stadium, the 50th season of GVSU football is going to be electric. Head coach, Matt Mitchell, is taking on his 11th season at GVSU with defensive coordinator, Jim Louis, and offensive coordinator, Matt Vitzthum. One of the most exciting things about this 50th season is the schedule, released by the NCAA in February, which includes a total of seven home games for the Lakers. The first three games of the season will take place at Lubbers Stadium, starting with Edinboro, followed by a highly anticipated game on 9/11 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Colorado State-Pueblo will be traveling to Allendale and the night will include several special events

honoring veterans and remembering 9/11. The third game of the season will be against Wisconsin-Lacrosse on Sept. 18, and then the Lakers will finally hit the road for their first away game against Michigan Tech on Sept. 25. “Heading into the first game, there is going to be quite a bit of excitement,” Mitchell said. “We’ll have a line share of players who have never played a game at Grand Valley that will be stepping onto the field for the first time in over two years.” Some of those new players include junior wide receiver, Hunter Rison, transferring from Michigan State and senior wide receiver, Juwan Johnson, from Midwestern State, who will both be on this season’s starting lineup. A few more new faces will also be starting like sophomore quarterback, Cade Peterson, sophomore linebacker, Abe Swanson, and junior defensive back, Antonio Strong. Both the offensive lineup and defensive lineup have a fair share of returning starters, so now it’s just a matter of making sure each new name on the roster feels strong and secure in their position. “First priority right now is focusing on fall camp,” Mitchell said. “We did a lot of practicing the previous year—we had over 1,700 reps of 11-on-11 football, but we also have not had full contact football since the scrimmage on March

13, so consequently we got to get the guys back into some physical fitness, techniques, fundamentals, and prepare them for the opener.” With a combination of both new and old faces on the team, the athletes have had quite a long off-season to build up the relationships that all great teams have on and off the field. The biggest difference between returning players and new recruits is the level of experience that they’ve had playing college level games, so one of the most important things come game time is going to be support out on the field. “We have right now 92 players that are back here since the Fourth of July that are doing voluntary workouts, and these guys are putting a lot into it,” Mitchell said. “My expectations are for continued improvement through experience, so I don’t know that we’ll be our best in game one, but we will continue to grow and improve as the season unfolds.” After the trials and tribulations of missing out on a whole year of playing time, there’s quite a bit of catching up to do when it comes to full contact games. The good news though, is that with all the extra time spent in the workout room and a recent trip together to play a scrimmage game, the team has had a huge opportunity to build trust and gain the support that some of those new players will need at kickoff.

Experience is key, but experience playing together is even more beneficial. “We have the acronym WAWG in our building which is ‘We All We Got,’ and I think that was really enforced and strengthened and hopefully will manifest itself on the playing surface,” Mitchell said. With the season start just five weeks away, the athletes have quite a bit of time left to prepare for their first game, and they’re expecting a huge turnout for this year’s home games after a long awaited return of football season. As an added bonus to another stellar season, the 50th season will also be incorporating commemoration for some of GVSU’s best decades of Laker football at each home game, starting with 2010-2019 at the first home game, followed by 1980-1989 for the 9/11 home game, and so forth. GVSU is also unveiling Tailgate Town, for the 50th season which consist of rentable units in Irwin Donor Black Lot ‘B’ for pregame celebrations. Amidst all of the excitement and preparation for the season to come, it presents us with the great opportunity to look back on what we endured together and move on to celebrate the safe and invigorating season ahead. FLEX ON ‘EM: Grand Valley players celebrating after a 20-17 win at Lubbers Stadium on Nov. 3, 2019, their last season before the difficulties inherent to sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. GVL | SHEILA BABBITT



BACK TO SCHOOL: Future neighbors reached out to each other using GVSU Facebook groups to connect with what will soon be their communities when they move into campus. GVL | AUBREY WAGNER

Connecting off-campus: GV students get to know each other on social media before coming to campus BY LAUREN FORMOSA EMAIL@LANTHORN.COM

As the internet and social media evolved over the years into what it is today, many young adults strayed away from Facebook in favor of other more popular platforms. Yet with its declining popularity among the general college-aged population, Facebook and Facebook groups have become a useful tool for students at Grand Valley State University. Searching for groups related to GVSU on Facebook will lead to an abundance of results, the most popular ones dedicated to specific graduating classes, such as the GVSU Class of 2023 Facebook group. Although these private groups are not run by the university, they still play a key role in

helping students communicate with one another and forming an online community. “I don’t use Facebook a whole lot, but usually about 75% of my notifications are from these groups,” said Conor Keenan, a junior at GVSU. “I think it’s become a tool for us to network and communicate with a wider base of people.” GVSU students use these groups for just about anything: buying and selling textbooks, looking for subleasers, finding tutors, and much more. Many of the Facebook groups students frequently use receive posts daily, ranging from questions about classes to listings for used items. In addition, these groups have become a place for promoting campus events, student organizations, and job opportunities.   

GVSU Facebook groups also give members the ability to connect with each other. Whether through shared interests or living in the same area, students like Keenan have taken the initiative to create separate Facebook groups or group chats to bring more people together.   “I sent out a post that said ‘hey, if your in campus view from this apartment number to this apartment number, reach out,’ and we made a little group chat,”  Keenan said. “We’re hopefully going to get a kickstart on the year and promote community and a good friendly environment.” These groups are not only valuable resources for current students, but also for incoming freshman and transfer students. With the number of members in these

groups usually ranging in the thousands, it is easy for those new to the GVSU community to connect with their peers before even stepping foot on campus. “I’m a transfer student myself, so I’d definitely recommend it.” said GVSU student Keith Pack. “It’s helpful to connect with other people and the different ways people use these groups makes them useful too.” As many get ready to return to campus later this month, the GVSU Facebook groups have become an important tool for students to prepare for the upcoming fall semester. Even after the start of a new academic year, Facebook will no doubt continue to be a useful tool for many in the GVSU community.


Kirkhof College of Nursing receives $2.2 million grant BY HANNA HALSTEAD NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

STUDENT SUPPORT: The grant will allow GV’s KCON to better retain nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds. GVL | ARCHIVES

GVSU’s Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) received a $2.2 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to partner with health care organizations in order to transform the nursing workforce and increase the educational opportunities for nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities. KCON will be partnering with Spectrum Health and McLaren Health Care over the course of four years to provide financial support for registered nurses coming from these organizations and applying for admission to the bachelor’s of science in nursing (RNBSN), master’s of nursing (MSN), or doctor-

ate of nursing practice (DNP) programs. Janet Winter, associate dean for Undergraduate Nursing Programs, said that during the duration of the program, approximately 60 nursing degrees will be conferred. Graduates will be able to deliver culturally aligned care and leadership in providing care for medically underserved areas and populations. The first cohort of students will begin in fall 2021, the second cohort in fall 2022, and the third cohort in fall 2023. Applications are open until August 6, 2021 for the RNBSN program and the post-MSN DNP program. The application process for the MSN program will begin in 2023. Not only will the program help those who are underprivileged, but it will also provide individualized student support services, Winter said.

Through the program, GVSU and KCON will provide a dedicated program Student Services Advisor with personal and professional expertise in working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enhance student retention plans, incorporate evidence-based practice to address social determinants of health/education in promoting academic success and coach students using evidence-based resilience approaches, Winter said. “The grant exemplifies a long-standing commitment that GV has with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion, community engagement and experiential learning,” Katherine Moran, associate dean for Graduate Nursing Programs, said. “ Moreover, the objectives of this grant align perfectly with the work of the university as we ReachHigher2025.”






Grand Valley is hosting their first cornhole tournament on Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free to sign up and registration is due by Aug. 12. To sign up all you need is a teammate and a team name, the winners will get a prize from the Laker Store and get a trophy. GVSU faculty, staff, and students are able to sign up. The event will be held at the Cook Carillon Tower Lawn. Registration is available here https://www. 9177A6D.


The department of music, dance, and theatre is inviting students to audition for choir, band, and orchestra Aug. 27 through Aug. 30 in-person at the Haas Center for Performing Arts. Choir auditions are scheduled for Aug. 27 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The second audition date is Aug. 30 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The audition will include a warm-up to determine vocal range and then students will be able to perform a song of their choice. If students don’t have a song to sing themselves, they are being asked to perform “America (My Country ‘tis of Thee).” Students are asked to bring a copy of their musical selection to the audition only if they’re performing their own song selection. Students can sign up for ten minute time frames at https://www.gvsu. edu/mtd/cms-form-edit.htm?formId=E5 DD3753-E6A6-8922-DB362211FF72933C. Band and Orchestra auditions are on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29 with audition times split based off of the instruments. Upon arrival students will be assigned a number and all play behind a screen. Students can register for their spot online at https:// htm?formId=A4B1BD01-E6C3-257E-BFE22ECD0141E2B7.

NEW BEGINNINGS: Lakers at a previous Welcome Week, a sight to expect at the upcoming events for new and returning students. GVL | GVSU

GVSU gears up for Welcome Week for the 2021 semester BY SABRINA EDWARDS LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM

As the countdown to move-in day becomes closer for Grand Valley State University students, the Campus Board of Activities (CAB) and Student Life are preparing for Welcome Week. Students will be able to move into their dorms Aug. 22-25, and with that comes a lot of events that CAB wasn’t able to hold during the 2020-21 school year. For these events CAB is following the COVID-19 guidelines for masks, for outdoor events students are not required to wear masks, but are welcome to if they feel more comfortable. Last year GVSU held their Transitions program online, this year it will be a hybrid

model. On Aug. 25 incoming students will be invited to Lubbers Stadium for their class photo and to listen to speaker Joe Martin. Martin will be speaking on topics such as resilience and how to be successful in college. Students will also receive a free shirt that they’ll be able to tie-dye the next day. Following that, on Aug. 26 there will be a Title IX presentation and advising center sessions. “We’re really excited to be able to do in-person things at the level we have done before,” said Valerie Guzman, Director of Student Life. “Obviously last year we weren’t able to do large group events. We really miss that exciting vibrant campus environment.” Laker Kickoff will be on Aug. 27 and will feature live music, free food and giveaways.

Earlier in the day is the Convocation celebration with GVSU’s President, Philomena Mantella. Following that students will be able to watch a movie in Lubbers Stadium on Aug. 28. The movie has yet to be announced, for updates on events check out Student Life’s Instagram or Twitter, @gvsustudentlife. Earlier in the day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. students can participate in the beach clean up, there will be a bus that takes them to Grand Haven State Park. Before Welcome Week, there will be housing block parties as students are moving into their dorms. There will be crafts and other activities that students can do to get to know their roommates and neighbors. Full details of all the events for Welcome Week can be found on LakerLink.


Oliver Wilson Scholars adapt to campus early BY YSABELA GOLDEN LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM


GVSU’s Student Senate is looking to get more students involved with student government on campus. Student senate is a group of 50 students who each serve on one of six committees. These committees work to better student life, academics, and the overall student experience at GVSU. Their mission is to help create a student body that is engaged, healthy, and empowered. Students can apply to join Student Senate at Student Senate is working on preparing for Battle of the Valleys, after previously assigning a BOV benefactor with Saginaw Valley State University and is actively working to promote that.

UNITY: Students can still gain support during the fall and winter semester through Oliver WIlson Scholars program. GVL Kendra Stanley-Mills

The Allendale campus at Grand Valley State University is usually quite vacant in the summer; dorms are mostly uninhabited, in-person classes are far and few between, and campus dining is practically non-existent. But for the last five weeks, campus has enjoyed the full attention of students who had the opportunity to arrive ahead of their fellow incoming freshman. These students, the Oliver Wilson Scholars, had a chance to live in the dorms, tour Grand Rapids, learn about Grand Valley’s infrastructure and take two of a variety of credited courses. “I feel the program has really helped me get a sense for the campus,” said OWS Student Kaiya Smith. “I get to know where everything is, and I get to get an idea for what the environment is going to be in the classroom.” Smith is taking courses in English and Women and Gender Studies; others in the program are taking Math, Sociology, and Philosophy. Students remarked on how much they enjoyed getting to take classes outside of their basic general education requirements, and that it piqued their curios-

ity for taking more courses in those fields. Others who were taking classes for their major found the college classroom experience satisfyingly different from taking required courses in high school. “I hated math in high school, but I think that had to do with the way it was taught,” Chance Scarcelli-Navarro said. “I’ve noticed that college classes are taught so differently, because it’s up to how the professor wants to teach it to you. In the math class I’m taking now, there’s so many different ways to explain things— there are so many paths to the same answer. I found that really cool. I have to take a lot more math classes for my major, but I’m definitely looking forward to them now instead of dreading them.” Being able to take credited courses was an important part of the program when it was founded as the “Freshman Academy” in 2003 by Dr. Oliver Wilson, the then-dean of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (and who the program was named for, after his passing in 2009). 2021 was a return to this original form. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


The GVSU community has had a cumulative total of 3,349 cases since Aug. 1, 2020. The university’s update for this brief was from Thursday, July 29. Through testing results this past week, GVSU’s Virus Action team have so far reported six current active cases including two staff members, one on-campus student, one “off-campus Ottawa” student, one “off-campus Kent” student and one “off-campus other” student with active COVID-19 cases. “Current active cases” is the count of positive cases reported to the Virus Action Team over the past ten days. This is an estimate of those currently in isolation, assuming a ten-day symptomatic period following the reporting of a positive test result. Actual periods of isolation are specific to the individual and determined by the county health department. Testing and Incidence: GVSU’s own testing program has performed 88,886 tests overall since August 21, 2021, for a cumulative positivity rate of 0.00% from the latest update as of last week. A total of 271 tests were performed over the last seven days. A calendar is available. “GV Total” includes surveillance testing plus all symptomatic/exposure tests administered by Spectrum. Vaccination: GVSU encourages all students, faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. According to the COVID-19 data dashboard, 80% vaccination rate in the GVSU community is required to reach herd immunity and minimal virus transmission. Currently, approximately 30% of students report being fully vaccinated, while approximately 75% of faculty and staff reports being fully vaccinated.


GVSU announced its partnership with Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon health departments in a program that tests wastewater for genetic markers of COVID-19 over the next two years. Pei-Lan Tsou, associate professor of cell and molecular biology, and Sheila Blackman, professor of biology and cell and molecular biology, will work primarily with samples from Kent county. While researchers at the Annis Water Institute in Muskegon will partner with the Ottawa County Health Department to process samples from Muskegon and Ottawa counties. The partnership comes as a result of grants awarded to the Kent Health Department and Ottawa Health Department by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Kent County Health Department received a $3.3 million grant for wastewater testing, and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health received a $1.7 million grant for wastewater testing in Ottawa and Muskegon counties.



GRAM on the Green returns, showcases diversity of arts and music in GR community BY MARY DUPUIS ASSOCIATE@LANTHORN.COM

In partnership with WYCE 88.1 FM, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) has resurrected their annual free summer concert series, “GRAM on the Green” for the twelfth year.   On these evenings from 5:00-9:00 p.m. admission to the museum is free and guests are welcome to spend their night on GRAM’s outdoor terrace enjoying the live music, food trucks, art-making activities, and a cash bar. The first show of the series took place on July 29 and featured Djangophonique playing a Parisian style of jazz from the 1920s and 30s with Via & The Playboys who dabbled in more vintage sounds and themes.  Two more shows will follow, one on Aug. 5 showcasing JROB and Bedrock with Hollywood Makeout for an indie rock and hip-hop style performance and another on Aug. 12 with Laura Rain & The Caesars, known for their blues tunes and soul music. Music Director of WYCE, Shane German, said that in selecting this years’ artists to perform, his goal was to carry WYCE’s theme from their radio station to the stage.  “Our tagline is, ‘A world of music,’” German said. “We play everything from jazz to hip hop to blues to indie rock, and I wanted to continue the theme [of the concert series] with the format of our station.”  German said he not only wanted to showcase a broad selection of music from local and regional artists, but also to reflect

IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD: The collaboration between museum and radio encourages appreciation of local art and local musicians, celebrating the GR community. COURTESY | GRAM COMMUNICATIONS

the diversity and style of the Grand Rapids community that enjoys them. “I wanted a nice, eclectic, diverse mix of genres and to serve the Grand Rapids community and the music lovers in our community,” German said.”We love all types of music, so I tried to pick music suitable for all types of tastes and styles and tried to pick artists for all the great music that they do.” Communications Manager at GRAM, Elizabeth Payne, said this series is a fundamental part of their efforts to continue to bring art to the community. “GRAM on the Green with WYCE 88.1 FM is part of the Museum’s commitment to providing free and accessible experiences for our community year-round,” Payne said. “GRAM celebrates art in its many forms, and this series

is the perfect way to experience art and music in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.” Laura Rain of Laura Rain and the Caesars said she has always wanted to perform at GRAM, and loves involving the community with the arts in this way. “I’m really excited to be in Grand Rapids, I love it,” Rain said. “I wish we were there more often. I think the city does a really good job of bringing culture and music to the people.” Erin Lenau of Hollywood Makeout said that the sense of community fostered by events such as this is extremely important as they were virtual, or nonexistent, for so long.  LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


Circle Theatre returns to their main stage with Cabaret AYRON RUTAN ARTS@LANTHORN.COM

Circle Theatre in Grand Rapids welcomed back its first indoor show since March 2020 earlier this July with a performance of “Cabaret”. The shows took place on the theater’s main stage from July 15-31. A 12-time Tony winner, “Cabaret” is set

WILLKOMMEN: Raiford is excited to play a character as complicated as “Kit Kat Club” singer Sally Bowles. COURTESY | ASHLEE MCGREVY

in 1931 Germany on the eve of Nazi control. The show focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and American writer Cliff Bradshaw’s relationship with cabaret performer Sally Bowles. The stylish musical numbers and historical portrait of a city about to be overrun with evil made the production an exciting addition to Circle Theatre’s Main Stage catalog.  Anticipation was at an all-time high for “Cabaret,” as it was Circle Theatre’s first major performance inside on their main stage since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020.  Jaelyn Raiford, the actress who played Sally Bowles, said she was ready for the change of pace, as she has only been performing in pre-recorded shows for so long. “(The pre-recorded shows) were interesting. They don’t feel as great as going into the theater,” Raiford said. “They had us all spaced out on stage and we couldn’t walk outside of our 3-foot radius. We also had

to mic ourselves and put our wigs on ourselves. It was a lot like being on a film set.” Raiford said the lack of an audience was something that impacted her, and her fellow performers, in a negative way. With no audience to respond to scenes or musical numbers, she and other actors were left empty after an important moment in the show, craving that enthusiastic energy that a live audience brings to a performance.  “Obviously I’m supposed to energize my own performance, that’s what being an actor is,” Raiford said. “But the biggest pull from live theater is that you can get off the stage knowing the audience’s thoughts and feelings about the show.” Since the performances began on July 15, audiences have been responding well to “Cabaret” -- much to Raiford’s surprise -- due to some of the heavier themes the show portrays.  LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE




At the beginning of the summer in June, the head coach of the women’s soccer team, Jeff Hosler, announced his resignation at GVSU as he transitions to the head coaching position for Michigan State University’s DI women’s soccer team. At the end of July, the GVSU Athletic Department finalized the hiring of Jim Conlon as the new head coach for the soccer team. He will be the fourth coach in the history of the program after 12 seasons of DIII soccer at Washington University where he made three National Championship appearances. Prior to his tenure at Washington University, Conlon coached both DIII men’s and women’s soccer at Wartburg where he coached the men to four NCAA national championship appearances and the women to their first. Coach Hosler led the Lakers to three out of six total DII national titles and will be taking over for 30-year head coach, Tom Saxon, for the Spartans. Hosler is leaving GVSU with an overall record of 144-12-6 with the all-time win-percentage in his seven seasons with the Lakers.


The GVSU football season previews will be hosted at Peppino’s with the first taking place on Aug. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Allendale location and the second on Aug. 25 at the downtown Grand Rapids location for the same hour. Both shows will be broadcasted on The Ticket (106.1 FM) and on the Grand Valley Sports Network. There will be players attending as well as head coach Matt Mitchell to talk about the season schedule and the new roster. After a full year of practices and scrimmages, the team is looking forward to getting back to full contact football for their 50th season.

LOCAL MICHIGAN ATHLETES COMPETE IN 2020 OLYMPICS As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have begun, several native Michigan athletes have made their hometowns proud. In the BMX Freestyle, Buchanan local, Hannah Roberts won silver in the event behind Charlotte Worthington. Draymond Green from Saginaw is competing in his second Olympics with the Team USA Basketball after winning gold in 2016. Green played for the Michigan State Spartans and now plays for the Golden State Warriors where he’s won three NBA titles. Grace Luczak from Ann Arbor is competing in four-boat rowing after placing fourth in 2016 and earning three gold medals at the World Championships. These athletes, among several others, continue to make Michigan schools proud as they bring home medals for Team USA.

Jason Johnson steps in as third head coach in the history of the women’s volleyball program BY HOLLY BIHLMAN SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

On Tuesday, July 27, 26-year head coach for the women’s volleyball team, Deanne Scanlon, announced her retirement. Scanlon leaves Grand Valley State University as the all-time winningest coach in the history of the program with an overall record of 615225 and a legendary set of accomplishments over the course of her career. Scanlon took the reins from GVSU Hall of Fame leader, Joan Boand, as the head coach of the volleyball team in 1995, and is now passing the torch to assistant coach, Jason Johnson, for the upcoming 2021 season. Scanlon’s career achievements started and ended with GVSU, totaling out to nine NCAA regional championships, a 2005 NCAA DII National Championship, 29 All-Americans, and a GLIAC record of 305-108. Although her impressive list of achievements will be a large part of what she’ll be remembered for at GVSU, her character and drive is what made her a legend in the program’s history. Now, Coach Johnson, who has been working with Scanlon for 22 years—20 of those as the assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team—is stepping up to the plate. “The one thing I will give a ton of credit to Coach Scanlon for is allowing me over the last 20 years to grow as a coach and turn more and more aspects of the program over,” Johnson said. “Early on it was about just learning what it meant to be a coach and a little self-discovery, and then the last 10 years it’s been about diving into the different aspects of the program.” As the assistant coach for two decades, Johnson played a huge role in both the team’s successes and the player-to-coach relationships. Since the head coach is responsible for making decisions based on what’s best for the team, Johnson is going to have to start adapting to a new mindset in order to make the jump to head coach. “I’m very close and very connected with our players,” Johnson said. “I think we have a very good relationship, but that dynamic will change a little bit because, again, it can’t just be me playing both sides where I’m advocating for the players and advocating for the team.” With the start of the season just two weeks away, Johnson has been busy planning and preparing for an entirely different season than the one he’s been a part of for the last 20 years. Because of his hand in a lot of the decisions that made the team what it was for all that time, Johnson doesn’t foresee any large changes happening anytime soon. While a lot of coaches tend to create goals based on numbers and titles, Johnson is going to be using some of his experience as an assistant coach to gauge some new goals as a team. “Getting through it,” Johnson laughed. “It’s easy to just throw out the measurable goals of winning things, but I think the biggest thing is we want to make it through; we want to be healthy both physically and emotionally. And then from there, it’s just about a

VOLLEYBALL: Jason Johnson steps into head coaching position for the 2021 season after two decades as the assistant coach to Deanne Scanlon as she retires. COURTESY | GVSU VOLLEYBALL

relentless drive of competitiveness. I think we define competitiveness in the world as showing up and being better than the next person, and it needs to be redefined a little bit about just being better than yourself every day.” With a little bit of an older team taking the court this season, Johnson believes that winning is going to be on their priority list first and foremost, but open lines of communication and community service are both factors in what he believes makes a great team. “I am so confident and ecstatic that he’s got this position,” Scanlon said. “He couldn’t be more ready, he has put in his time, he’s been devoted, loyal, and he’s more ready than a lot of people I know that have been head coaches for a long time. I think he’s going to hit the ground running and I don’t think they’re going to skip a beat.” With the season opener taking place in Colorado to play the University of Sioux Falls on Sept. 3, the new coaching staff has a lot to do before the athletes come back to Allendale to start practices up again. The NCAA released the schedule for the 2021 season back in June, and they’ll have their work cut out for them starting with the Colorado School of Mines Tournament in September, followed by the Capital Classic Tournament, and then the Midwest Region Crossover before GLIAC play even starts. Not only is the transition between coaches exciting because it’s only the second time that it’s happened in the 52 years of the program, but it’s also a bittersweet

goodbye for Scanlon. “When I came to Grand Valley, I was a young mom, my kids were four and six, now they’re 31 and 33,” Scanlon said. “When you’re in the thick of it and you’re coaching and you’re in there and you’re competitive, it’s really, really hard to get a perspective on the whole big picture of 26 years. It’s all starting to hit me just now. I’m realizing I need this process, I need this, I guess closure, is what I would call it.” For Scanlon, Johnson, and the GVSU Athletic Department, this passing of the torch is another opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the amount of support, success, and drive that the women’s volleyball team has been a beacon for. With a head coach like Scanlon, Johnson is more than prepared to take the next step in the program’s history. “He’s my best friend and I’ve worked with him for 20 years right in the office next to me; we’ve been through so much together and I’m going to miss seeing him every day,” Scanlon said. “I do want to take a step back; I want to give Jason the opportunity for him to just get in there and do his own thing and have his own presence, and him not feel like I’m right around the corner.” This 2021 season will be a roller coaster of ups and downs, but the Laker fan base will be supporting the team every step of the way as Coach Johnson takes on his inaugural season as head coach, and Scanlon may even be in the stands every so often, never more than a phone call away.



GV track and field alumnus, Chris Hammer, eyes gold at 2020 Paralympics BY SHAWN ROBINSON SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

The 2020 Olympic Games have begun with the 2020 Paralympic Games right around the corner. Grand Valley State University alumnus, Chris Hammer, will once again compete for Team USA in the Paralympic Games. Hammer, a 2009 graduate and five-time NCAA Division II Track All-American, will try and go for the gold medal in the Paratriathlon in August. Hammer found a passion for running at a young age, but it wasn’t his first sport of choice. “In high school my favorite sport was ice hockey,” Hammer said. “I played ice hockey all through senior year for a city league and actually won the state championship. I was all about it, but it was apparent that my challenge worked in distance running. If I was going to continue playing sports in college it was not going to be ice hockey, it was going to be running. I liked running, I liked the fact you could push yourself and it’s so simple. It’s basically you trying to beat someone else, and I liked that aspect of that.” Hammer was born without a left hand, the result of a congenital condition, but he hasn’t let that slow him down at all. “I never, ever considered myself to have a disability and never let it be an excuse for anything,” Hammer said. “Every sport I played was played just like a regular sport.”

PARATRITHALON: Chris Hammer competes in the long-distance five kilometer fun portion of the Paratriatholon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. COURTESY | CHALLENGED ATHLETES FOUNDATION

During his time at GVSU, Hammer ran cross-country and helped his team to nine conference championship victories and finished top four at nationals twice. He also ran many other races including winning the 2007 Outdoor GLIAC Championship 3000-meter steeplechase and the 2007 Indoor GLIAC Championship 5k run. Hammer also showed his hard work ethic each and everyday whether it was at practice or at meets. He brought lots of energy and enthusiasm to the team and was a joy to have as a teammate. “Chris is a very easygoing, great spirited and very passionate person,” said GVSU track

and field coach, Jerry Baltes. “His work ethic was top-notch as a Grand Valley student athlete, and to this day, has done an incredible job of maximizing his talent and getting the most out of his God-given ability by working hard, staying fitted and disciplined in training and living the proper lifestyle to become one of the best in the world.” Hammer’s journey to the Paralympics was different than others. He was first approached by a U.S. Paralympic coach at an indoor track invitational at the University of Washington when he was still a student at GVSU. The coach introduced the idea of the Paralympics to Hammer but it took some time for him to decide on what to do.

“I never heard of the Paralympics, so the only thing I could think of is Special Olympics and I was like, this doesn’t apply to me,” Hammer said. “I kind of blew it off at first and it actually took a decent amount of convincing from my teammates and coaches there, and they told me I should look into the opportunity more. It was something I was hesitant to pursue to begin with but then the more I learned, and I saw what a great opportunity it is to continue to be an athlete post college and to represent your country at the world stage has been life changing.” Since joining the U.S. Paralympics track and field team, Chris has participated in many events and made a name for himself on the national and world stage. In 2011, Hammer was the World Para Athletics (IPC) Champion in the 1,500m race. He then participated in his first Paralympic Games in London 2012, where he ran the 1,500m and the Marathon. But Hammer wanted to go further and try a new challenge in 2013 and participate in the triathlon, which consists of three segments; a 750m swim, 20km bike and a 5km run. He didn’t have any swim or bike training prior to entering the race but felt his cross-country and long-distance running background would be well suited for a triathlon. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


GV’s Charlie DeLong adds to list of accomplishments with amateur golf tournament win JUSTICE STEINER SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

GOLF: Sophomore golfer, Charlie DeLong, competes in the 23rd annual Kent County Amateur Golf Tournament. COURTESY | GVSU LAKERS

Grand Valley State University’s Charlie DeLong took first place in the 23rd annual Kent County Amateur Golf Tournament with a 54hole score of 205, which was 11 shots under par. “Going into any event you are trying to win, if you’re not, something is wrong,” Delong said. “I hadn’t been playing my best golf going into it so I didn’t know what to expect, but like I said, you are always trying to win it.” This was not DeLong’s first time competing in Kent County Amateur Golf Tournament; he placed 8th in last year’s event. “No one likes being close and not pulling it out,” DeLong said. After the first two rounds of this year’s tournament, Delong had a combined score of 141, which was good for three shots under par. “I haven’t been driving the golf ball particularly well,” DeLong said. “So that’s been a big focus for me this summer– keeping the ball in

play off the tee and I did that for the most part.” Before heading into the third and final round, DeLong said knowing that he had a chance to win the tournament, it was a mindset of, “Alright, let’s go get it done.” The final round was DeLong’s best; he finished the third round with a score of 64, which was eight shots under par. “I hit it pretty good the first couple of rounds; I played average, and then in the final round it all kind of clicked and came together, so that was nice,” DeLong said. The Kent County Amateur Golf Tournament champion did not have a shortage of talent competing against him on the course. Runner up, Grant Haefner, who was an All-GLIAC First Team performer at Wayne State University last season, finished with a score of 207, which was nine shots below par. Rounding out the top three was Michigan State University’s August Meekhof. Meekhof, who is an Allendale high school alumnus, was recognized as the top golfer in the class of 2020

within the state of Michigan. Also competing in the tournament was DeLong’s teammate, Nick Krueger, who finished in 11th place for GVSU, shooting five above par for a total score of 221. Winning this tournament expands on an already extensive list of accolades for the sophomore. In his first two seasons at GVSU, DeLong is a two-time All-GLIAC First Team performer, was named GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2020, and tied the record for best score at The Meadows golf course. Although Delong has had many achievements early in his GVSU career, he said his favorite is still the feeling of winning a tournament and knowing that the hard work and preparation paid off. “I don’t know if one win is really above another one, just winning golf tournaments, in general, is always fun. That’s what you practice for, it’s what you prepare for,” DeLong said. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

Profile for Grand Valley Lanthorn

Grand Valley Lanthorn Summer 2021 Issue  

Grand Valley Lanthorn Summer 2021 Issue  


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