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Laker Legacies GV remembers contributions of late educators G R A N D VA L L E Y L A N T H O R N

Professor, students investigate with USA Today SEE COMMUNITY | A3

Athletic Director Keri Becker joins governor’s task force SEE LEADERSHIP | A10

M O N D A Y, J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 9 // VO L 5 4 N O. 1

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A2 | NEWS NEWS BRIEFS HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEURS PITCH IDEAS TO LOCAL PROFESSIONALS    A group of students participating in Grand Valley State University’s Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) won $5,000 for their winning pitch idea presented to local businesses. Called Generation Connection, their idea involved combining senior citizen centers with daycares, with seniors serving as caretakers.  The camp was held June 24-28 at the L. Seidman Center and hosted by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship. TESA gives high school students the opportunity to experience hands-on, interactive workshops, simulations, lectures and research in order to better understand a topic.  Two other student groups won prizes, including Project Code, a coding training and placement program for impoverished teens and Recharge, a job placement website for those in poverty. 


Since moving the Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) program to Traverse City in 2015, GVSU students graduating from the program have increasingly remained in northern Michigan to work, with 75 percent of graduates serving those communities. “Some of our first graduates from the Traverse City satellite program are now giving back by taking current students for their clinical rotations,” said assistant department chair and PAS affiliate professor Nicholus Kopacki. A draw for incoming students is the PAS pass percentage, which remains at 100 percent for GVSU, 3 percent higher than the national average. 2018 PAS graduate Savannah Micunek cited this as a reason for attending GVSU. “I made my decision to attend Grand Valley based largely on the licensure exam pass rate and the university’s commitment to serving the health care needs of northern Michigan residents,” Micunek said.



University resolves Office for Civil Rights complaint following 5-­year delay BY NICK MORAN EDITORIAL@LANTHORN.COM

After five years, Grand Valley State University announced in a statement that it had finally resolved a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2014. The university and the complainant resolved the issue through mediation, formally resolving the complaint, according to the statement. According to the statement, the resolution included improvements within the Title IX office, noting a reworked investigation process and hiring more staff. Staffing improvements over the past five years included a lead civil rights investigator, 11 co-investigators and the appointment of a full-time Title IX coordinator, Teresa Rowland. “When the…complaint came in, Dwight Hamilton was the acting Title IX coordinator, but that was not his only role,” said Associate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Pat Smith. “The fact that we now have (someone) with that full job responsibility in this work is a major change.” In the statement, the university also expressed its regret in the delay in achieving a formal resolution. Additionally, it acknowledged that the complaint highlighted areas the university could improve, offering its appreciation. While the university intended to resolve the

complaint shortly after its surfacing, a series of delays associated with a national uptick in complaints caused GVSU’s turn at mediation to be pushed back, Smith said. The length of this investigation has motivated the office to seek quicker resolutions, while also bolstering their staff and sanction process, Rowland said. “We have made an intentional effort early on to decrease the timeline for investigations so we are below 60 days,” Rowland said. “Another thing I want to highlight specific to Title IX and the investigatory work is we have a panel of experts, knowledgeable folks that review a case and will make a recommendation of sanctions to the Dean of Students Office. If we go beyond our office, we can talk about prevention efforts, a dedicated, full-time victim advocate as well, so there have been a lot of changes.” The incident in question revolved around GVSU’s handling of a sexual assault case, with the formal complaint being filed October 2014. The complainant, who stepped forward as Sarah Chittenden, a senior at the time, said she was unhappy with how the university handled her sexual assault case. While the perpetrator, a GVSU student at the time, wasn’t criminally charged, Chittenden did report the incident to the university, who assigned sanctions to the perpetrator. Chittenden said that the staff she worked with implied that the fact that she didn’t want to see the sanctioned student during the trial promoted a lesser punishment. Chittenden

filled a complaint, which was then followed by a university-wide review by the Office for Civil Rights, of which GVSU was one of 80 universities involved. In an attempt to remedy the complaint, Smith said the university quickly began to update its policies based on work done prior to the incident, despite the complaint being formally unresolved at the time. The Lanthorn reported that Chittenden’s perpetrator was tried by existing policies at the time of the incident, but an interim policy was put into place the following November. The policy has changed greatly between 2014 and 2019, Rowland said. One highlight is creating opportunities for students to approach their incidents in a way that feels comfortable to them. While one student may utilize on-campus tools to file a police report, others may feel they just need counseling services. Rowland said this system is supported by the improved staffing in the Title IX office and within the incident investigation team. “I think we can owe a lot of our changes and efforts of moving forward and expanding our services, strengthening our policies, our procedures, obtaining the expertise we’ve brought to campus as a result of this.” The Lanthorn has reached out to the Office for Civil Rights to review documents related to the complaint.


Since graduating in 1993, GVSU alumnus Adam Wygant has become a director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Wygant supervises programs in oil and gas operations, gas storage and mining. He is also the state’s geologist and advises the Michigan Geological Survey. “It does, however, make me one of the state’s biggest geological cheerleaders in trying to educate about the importance of the role of geology and the need for greater geologic understanding as we face the future,” Wygant said. Wygant cited GVSU’s geology program and its professors as a component of his success, stating that the “superstar lineup of professors” impacted his work. While studying at GVSU, Wygant had the opportunity to do fieldwork in Indiana, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

MAKING CHANGES: Students protested changes to Title IX made by the U.S. Department of Education in January, which lessened universities’ power in sexual assault cases. Since 2014, GVSU has added staff to handle cases quicker, increase prevention efforts and advocate for victims. COURTESY | GVSU



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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.

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Professor, students investigate with USA Today part of being at Grand Valley.” the site longer than usual. So there was a very The project allowed these students to ex- wide reach, and that’s one of the things for us perience how much effort and work really that was really exciting about working with A Grand Valley State University faculty goes into long-term investigative projects. USA Today.”  While this portion of the investigation is member played a key role in a national in- Donahue said that her work with Kelly vestigation that is gaining national traction. Lowenstein shaped her experience with in- over, Kelly Lowenstein is not planning on going Assistant professor of multimedia journalism vestigative journalism and taught her much anywhere. In fact, the team is already getting tips and planning to expand their research. KelJeff Kelly Lowenstein worked alongside USA more about the field than any class did.  Since its publication, the investigation ly Lowenstein hopes that this project fuels more Today’s Nick Penzenstadler and three GVSU students to uncover the devastating truth about has been hugely successful. USA Today has of the like at GVSU.  “That’s what we’re trying to do – to do reverse mortgage failures, particularly in pre- a total of 109 newspapers, most of which dominantly African-American neighborhoods.   included the whole investigation or fea- this kind of work and for Grand Valley to be known for where this kind of work hap“It was very interesting, and quite honestly, tured an adapted version.  “We had an internal report USA Today did pens,” Kelly Lowenstein said. “We’re trying it was painful,” Kelly Lowenstein said. “We ended up finding that there were several hundred about how many people saw the story,” Kelly to build that culture of accountability, of zip codes throughout the country which had at Lowenstein said. “There was about seven mil- investigation, of open information and so least 80 percent African-American people, and lion people, and they said that people stayed on this is a part of that.” they have a very high number of reverse mortgage originations in the last decade.” The team also found that these predominantly African-American neighborhoods had a higher number of foreclosures relative to other neighborhoods of the same income level with an 80 percent white population.  The complete USA Today article includes heart-wrenching stories of families who are, or have, gone through reverse mortgage foreclosures. Many of the homes taken away have been the familial centerpiece for multiple generations. Kelly Lowenstein added that the home, for many African-American families, is a large part of their financial legacy. While the problem of reverse mortgage foreclosure is very personal to the families involved, the issue itself also affects the larger population. Each time a home is foreclosed, the value of the neighborhood as a whole goes down.  “As far as the general public, I just hope that (the investigation) leads to a greater awareness of this program and the implications not just for the families, but really for the entire society and the very challenging consequences,” Kelly Lowenstein said. “I hope it sparks some discussion and hopefully some change.”  While the investigation was emotionally strenuous at times, the results proved to Kelly Lowenstein that the efforts were well worth it.  Additionally, he said that one of his favorite parts of the project was working with students. Now-graduated Shirley Keys, Allison Donahue and Jamie Fleury contributed to the project by working on research, backgrounding and fact-checking.  “I really appreciate the opportunity to work with the students and to be in an environment where it’s very encouraged for faculty to work with students together on their projects,” Kelly Lowenstein said. “To me, that is a very positive TEAMWORK: Professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein enlisted the help of alumna Shirley Keys as well as jourBY AMY MCNEEL ASSOCIATE@LANTHORN.COM

nalism majors Allison Donahue and Jamie Fleury in the story. COURTESY | JEFF KELLY LOWENSTEIN

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GVL OPINION POLICY The goal of the Grand Valley Lanthorn’s opinion page is to act as a forum for public discussion, comment and criticism in the Grand Valley State University community. Student and columnist opinions published here do not necessarily reflect those of the paper as an entity. The Lanthorn strives to be a safe vehicle for community discussion. With this in mind, the Lanthorn will not publish or entertain any forms of hate speech, but neither will it discriminate against any other views, opinions or beliefs. The content, information and views expressed are not approved by—nor do they necessarily represent those of—the university or its Board of Trustees, officers, faculty or staff.

Letters to the editor should include the author’s full name, relevant title and a headshot, along with a valid email address and phone number for confirming the identity of the author. Letters should be approximately 500-650 words in length, and they are not edited by the Lanthorn staff except to fix technical errors or to clarify. Reader submissions on the opinion page appear as space permits. To make a submission, email or drop your submission off in person at:



Spare a little satanic sympathy


Beware: Those who fear the worship of great evils dare not venture further. Those who think I’m full of it, inquire within. We, a group of four to six, huddle around a table, listening to our leader read what we all consider an unquestionable truth. The looming guilt that some would deem it unholy fills our thoughts, but is quickly dismissed when we assume names only spoken of in other tongues. Suspenseful music fills the room as we clutch small idols representing ourselves and hope that the strange, geometric shapes we worship are kind to us in exchange for our loyalty. We’ve been publicly denounced in the media, called sinners within the sermons of various religious circles and amongst concerned families.  When James Dallas Egbert III shot himself in 1980, the press claimed he was one of us. They uncovered his tools of worship and called for its end.  

Letters to the editor and guest columns of the same era warned the public of the sins associated with this kind of weekly ritual. It promoted war, lust and greed, they said, as worshipers would decapitate beasts and defile morality for glory. Here we are, in the public eye once more. But this time, we’re associated with otherworldly evils, trivial pastimes and Netflix exclusives.  I couldn’t have been more excited.  Frankly, I was at first thankful that Dungeons & Dragons, the now-popular fantasy roleplaying game, had gone mainstream. My quietly-kept hobby was finally cool and I was ecstatic that swaths of people had an interest in it for the first time this millennium. But then that excitement was replaced with a sense of deep sorrow and regret.  Just 40 years ago, people spoke of the game with hushed voices as the threat of being beat up, forced to do community service or, worst of all, being deemed a nerd, was omnipresent. It forced roleplayers into basements, hiding behind DM screens and below hoods made from old shirts and towels.  Now, the Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set shares a cute display at Target with Toy Story merchandise in the middle of the aisle. Luckily, the unappropriated, classic starter set is tucked away with Monopoly and CandyLand in the board game section, which is where most of the satanic worship happens anyway. At least the real fans have some sort of haven.  When Target throws a couple of rainbow shirts on a shelf to celebrate Pride Month, people throw a fit. But


Help write the headlines you want to read


ews can be scary. As journalists, we’ll always be the first to support the good in reporting the news: educating the public on important issues, holding leaders accountable and encouraging discourse. Reporting helps us be better citizens, better friends and helps us restore a bit of faith in humanity at times. But especially over the past few years, we’ve seen this duty to share information with the public become a double-edged sword. While journalists have a duty to provide their audiences with the truth, we can never predict how our audience will receive it. Now, the common reception to the steady stream of news is a gasp for air. Papers, both local and national, are filled with headlines citing political corruption, environmental failure and overall hopelessness for the country. Americans want to be informed, with 95 percent of citizens following the

news regularly. Of that lot, 62 percent feel “worn out” most of the time when consuming news. In that same Pew Research Center report, Millennials have the second highest percentage of participants who said they were “worn out” by the news overall. With that in mind, it’s easy to feel stressed. As part-time journalists and part-time regular college students, we feel the same way at times, which is why we’re constantly faced with two choices: move along or take action.  Some students react the same way to stressful news as they do to a looming essay or project — they put in their headphones, turn up their music and try to ignore it for the time being. While some people work well under the pressure of a deadline overhead, it often multiplies stress and lowers the quality of the end result.  There are issues in the news that will not bend to your procrastination. Global warming will not

put itself on hold at your leisure. Unmotivated politicians will not be kicked out of office if you lack the motivation to learn their platforms and vote accordingly. These issues will not fix themselves. That’s why we need to take our news like medicine. While there’s a lot going on right now in our nation, the only way to free ourselves from the dreary view of news media is to start crossing things off the list. Which headline would you rather read? One about incoming doom or one that boasts about our nation finally finding some much-needed solutions to our quarrels.  We know which ones we’d rather report on. It’s on you to make that happen.  If you’d like to get involved, there are on-campus resources. Contact the Office of Student Life to find an organization you can support at Grand Valley State University or learn about non-profit organizations in Grand Rapids.

when they capitalize on and publicly support tools that allow children to indulge in satanic vices, people giggle because Stranger Things and retro culture are totally “in.” Come on, people, let’s get our priorities straight. These aren’t the values we stand for. The outspoken Christians of the 80s made one hell of an argument that playing Dungeons & Dragons would tumble kids into a life of sin, and I respect that. But this new argument that roleplaying is trendy — or even worse, that it’s cool —  is where I draw the line.  When you support the appropriation of this subculture, you’re encouraging the use of spindown dice as roleplaying-legal, twenty-sided dice. You’re allowing grown men and women to choose high-school-aged Stranger Things characters as their champions instead of the mighty fantasy warriors the game’s glory was built upon.  Worst of all, you’re replacing the eldritch prince of darkness that is the original demogorgon with some dude with a toothy flower for a face. Natural one. Pathetic.  I’ll take a couple punches from jocks to preserve the original spirit of Dungeons & Dragons. I’ll wear “dork” as a badge of honor when I need to and dodge wedgies along the way. I’ll even give my 25 cents of lunch money like 80s roleplayers used to.  For now, keep my dice and books out of your Twitter timelines and Netflix binges. Pop culture has dragged the game into the light and dressed it up like an Instagram influencer for cheap laughs and a quick buck.  Can’t a nerd sin in peace?




GV receives ‘Seal of Excelencia’ award for aid of Latinx students BY OLIVIA FELLOWS OFELLOWS@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University takes every advantage of creating an inclusive and safe learning environment for all students. In May, GVSU was recognized by Excelencia in Education with the inaugural Seal of Exelencia for being a “national trendsetter in serving our Latinx students.” The award was given based on GVSU’s intuition and steady work in inclusivity for Latinx students. GVSU was specifically recognized for demonstrating positive momentum in the data for Latinx students, effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latinx students, alignment of data and practice in serving Latinx students, and strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latinx student success. Vice President for Inclusion and Equity Jesse Bernal said the award came as a result of the many programs GVSU offers for Latinx students. Programs like Laker Familia Orientation and Laker Familia Mentoring Program are the two most notable programs designed for Latinx students. In 2014, Laker Familia Orientation was launched as a three-day orientation to provide successful transition from high school to college by welcoming first-year Latinx students to campus and immediately connecting them with the knowledge and skills to navigate campus resources.

INCLUSIVE: Laker Familia works to form a network for Latinx students and provide educational, social and academic events for members, adding to GVSU’s aid to Latinx students. COURTESY | GVSU

“GVSU strives to create an environment where all students can thrive and be their full, authentic selves,” Bernal said. “Specifically for Latinx students, GVSU has had a concerted effort to review the impact of programs and practices on this population. The retention rate of Latino students has increased two percent (from 80 percent to 82 percent) compared to one percent overall since 2015 and is among the highest Latino

graduation rates in the nation and the second highest in the state of Michigan.” GVSU has also implemented the Latinx Student Initiative (LSI), which consists of 12 university departments designed to coordinate and formalize institutional efforts around the goals of improving the recruitment, retention and graduation of Latinx students at GVSU. As part of LSI, a Latino Faculty/Staff Association and Latino Alum-

ni Association were also created to provide holistic engagement and support of the entire Latino community at GVSU. GVSU has many student organizations that celebrate Latinx culture, including Laker Familia and the Latino Student Union. Bernal said many of GVSU’s own staff worked together to create some of these programs and others that thrive on inclusivity. He explained that because of programs like these, Latinx graduation rates have increased over 16 percent since 2015. GVSU is now the third largest producer of baccalaureate degrees of Latinos in the state. Since 2015-2016, Latinx student enrollment has increased 16.2 percent, and Latinx transfer student enrollment has increased 14.4 percent. Latino faculty have increased over 20 percent and staff nearly 50 percent since 2015. “Many of GVSU’s faculty members are instrumental in creating a campus and classroom climate that is welcoming and inclusive for all students, particularly students from underrepresented backgrounds,” Bernal said. “Professors John Bender, Julie Guevara, Nancy Giardina, Raul Ysasi and Ellen Schendel were instrumental in advancing the Latino Student Initiative. The initiative and our advancements in Latinx student success would not be possible without the vision and commitment of Provost Maria Cimitile. Of course, many staff, in particular partners in the Enrollment Development Division, are dedicated partners in advancing the LSI objectives.”


Two shot near Pew Campus, GVPD cite no threat to students BY NICK MORAN EDITORIAL@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University students received an email notification Saturday, June 6 that two people were shot near the university’s Pew Campus in Grand Rapids at 10:34 p.m. Both victims were taken to the hospital following the shootings. One victim was shot near the Big Boy restaurant while the other was shot near the intersection of Winter Avenue and Lake Michigan Drive — both of which are within a few hundred feet from GVSU’s DeVos Lot. Grand Valley Police Department Capt. Kourosh Khatir said that the department has been working closely with the Grand Rapids Police Department throughout their investigation to uphold student safety. Khatir said that based on the information shared thus far, he is confident there is no connection or looming threat to GVSU. “I am confident that our campus is safe and

we take many proactive measures to insure it stays that way,” Khatir said. “One of those methods is the timely warning (students) received, along with a dedicated security staff that patrol 24/7, supplemented with law enforcement officers that began operating on our downtown campus in Fall of 2018.” Khatir said that the incident involved groups that were physically fighting in the heart of downtown before they moved to the location where the shootings occurred. At the time of the shooting, the number of shooters and their identities were unknown. The investigation is still ongoing. The shooting follows a recent uptick in violent crimes “not uncommon in most urban areas,” Khatir said. Should GRPD uncover any information that connects the shooting to the university or poses any further threat to the community, Khatir said their close relationship with GVPD will ensure they are well-informed and can act accordingly.

CRIME: The shooting happened near GVSU’s DeVos Lot on Pew Campus. GVPD said there is no threat to students. The shooters’ identities are unknown and investigation is ongoing. GVL | BENJAMIN HUNT



GV summer program trains teen entrepreneurs to counter poverty BY LUCAS SWARTZENDRUBER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

Since 2006, Grand Valley State University has hosted the Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA). For its 13th year, TESA tasked high school students with learning entrepreneurial skills aimed at resolving poverty and inequity. Shorouq Almallah, director of the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, considers it important to start early with creating a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs to start their pursuits. This means introducing the entrepreneurial mindset to teens before they graduate high school. “What I love about working with high school students (is that) they have the creative mindset,” Almallah said. “They’re open to ideas.” After all, Almallah described high school students as unafraid to take risks since they do not see barriers toward their endeavors. Adults face obligations that can make entrepreneurship difficult to pursue, including raising families. Therefore, she considered teens as having the time and resources for entrepreneurial involvement. Being an entrepreneur means more than owning businesses; it entails solving problems through sustainable solutions. TESA 2019 focused on poverty and inequity, and as Almallah said, there is still room to address such issues in Grand Rapids. She noted how some people refer to “A Tale of Two Cities.” Parts of Grand Rapids prosper in access to resources. However, other communities face shortages in such necessities as job opportunities and quality education. “We utilize the design thinking methodology,” Almallah said. “We focus on helping the students understand, you know, the theme or the topic for the camp.” The week of Monday, June 24 initially saw TESA students roleplay in a poverty simulation overseen by Access of West Michigan. Their

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: A student entrepreneur group poses with their prize for their idea, “Recharge,” a website that connects those in poverty with jobs. During their time at TESA, students received instruction on how to reduce poverty and pitched ideas to local professionals. GVL | BENJAMIN HUNT

roles included a variety of tasks and constraints. Almallah recalled how students learned what it felt like to not have cars, specifically for traveling to job interviews or grocery stores. Tim Syfert, GVSU clinical faculty and TESA instructor, identified other conditions within the simulation. He mentioned at least one student roleplayed as someone vulnerable to a drug dealer. Some students carried bus passes while others did not.  As a TESA participant, Grand Rapids Prep student Ejuan Merritt explained he could relate to the simulation because he had previous experience with poverty. He lived with-

out much income as a young child. From there, Merritt recalled being evicted from houses and moving into shelters. “It was kind of like, I had been through that before, so I knew how it was,” Merritt said. TESA practices experiential learning where students do not sit all day listening to lectures. Ishita Nagpal, a Forrest Hills Northern student, said she enjoyed visiting small businesses. One business Nagpal liked was Start Garden for aiding young entrepreneurs; she pointed out it hosts 5x5 Night, an event where people pitch ideas. Additionally, Nagpal recalled going to Little Space Studio,

FINDING SOLUTIONS: The second-place student group presents their idea for Project Code, which involved providing teens in poverty with coding training and job placements in coding. TESA participants had the opportunity to visit small businesses and network with local leaders. GVL | BENJAMIN HUNT

which provides workspaces for artists. After going through the poverty simulation, students identified a main problem from which to propose a concept for new products or services. In the process, they worked with student mentors and faculty to develop business plans via market research. Key questions included identifying customers and an industry’s conditions. “We needed to look into civil engineering, if there’s a demand for jobs there, which there was,” Nagpal said. Nagpal worked in the Pink Team to pitch Gear Up. This idea proposed training youth ages 16 through 26 for civil engineering, including fixing roads. She also said the Pink Team researched the market size for Gear Up, with a sizable market provided if many teens lived in poverty.   A big problem for Pink Team was how to generate money. Asking people in poverty to pay would risk them losing incentive in Gear Up, Nagpal said. However, Pink Team eventually figured out Gear Up could receive government funding by bringing more individuals into the program. Come Friday, June 28, TESA teams presented their ideas before judges, competing for cash prizes totaling $5,000. However, the benefits of TESA extend beyond finances. Nagpal mentioned TESA as a worthwhile learning experience, as she developed skills that included setting financial plans and working with people she did not know. For Merritt, he realized the challenges of being an entrepreneur. “It’s not easy,” Merritt said. “You have to come up with more ideas. You have to come up with your own original idea.”



EDUCATING: Michigan climatologist Jeffrey Andresen presents at GVSU’s first climate change summit. Held June 12, the summit aimed to educate teachers and professors about climate change and how to involve students in inciting environmental change. The summit included three keynote speakers as well as panel discussions and hands-on workshops, with 160 teachers in attendance. COURTESY | GVSU

GV hosts first climate change education summit BY AUDREY WHITAKER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

The Climate Change Education Solutions Network held its first climate change education summit Friday, June 12 on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus. Since May 2018, the Climate Change Education Solutions Network has been working to bring informative, relevant and reliable information to classrooms, said Elena Lioubimtseva, GVSU professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Sustainable Planning. “We bounced a number of different ideas in May 2018 and really two topics came back,” Lioubimtseva said. “The first idea was our website, and the second idea was to have the summit.” The event featured three keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops for the 160

teachers in attendance. “The program was definitely a success,” Lioubimtseva said. “We would like to do it every year. We’re already looking into forming the next planning committee, discussing who would be potential speakers and so on.” Keynote speaker Jessica Thompson, associate professor of communications at Northern Michigan University, said that the event approached climate issues with optimism and allowed attendees to engage with the material. “So many of these climate meetings say ‘Here’s the data,’ ‘This is how things are changing,’ ‘We’re going to experience more storms, more populations are vulnerable,’ ‘There’s more disease, there’s more threats,’” Thompson said. “It’s really overwhelming. What’s cool about the Grand Valley meeting is that it was really empowering.” Thompson said the event focused on de-

veloping curriculum for classrooms in the hopes of instilling the importance of sustainability and value of natural resources in students early on. “It was like, here’s fifteen minutes on some of the impacts,” Thompson said. “Here’s an entire day on things we can do to live lighter on the planet, to reduce our carbon footprint, to engage children with nature and appreciating the value of ecosystems. I think that’s the sweet spot right there.” Keynote speaker Sarah Duffer, an earth and environmental science teacher from North Carolina, said that although the data can be alarming, it’s important to be aware of the facts in order to develop solutions. “We find that much more inspiring, and so I think that that’s really where the focus increasingly needs to be,” Duffer said. Duffer said that youth advocacy is an inspiring and powerful trend she has seen be-

gin many movements, and hopes people of all ages will play their role in the fight for sustainability.   “We have 10 years to make radical changes and to decrease the impacts of climate change and the youth of today have really internalized that,” Duffer said.  “There is no more passing of the torch. They’re really energized to affect change, whether increasing the awareness of sexual violence, or income inequality or environmental justice.” Lioubimtseva said she hopes to see sustainability and climate education grow as a movement for people of all ages. “The mission of this group is to provide the best possible climate change education to everyone, all ages,” Lioubimtseva said. “I think what makes us different, probably from many other groups working on climate change, is that our primary solution to climate change is educating people about climate change.”


Laker Legacies GV remembers contributions of late educators

GV community remembers the legacy of dean Mary Seeger BY MACKENZIE KELLER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University experienced great loss as former dean Mary Seeger died Tuesday, June 11 at 79 years old. Seeger and her husband Wilhelm (Bill) joined the university staff in 1965, two years after the groundbreaking group of students began taking the first classes. Both taught German and became heavily involved in campus activities. Throughout her career at GVSU, Seeger held many different positions. She served not only as a professor, but as associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, acting director of the Graduate School of Education and director of the Academic Resource Center. She was named dean in 1989 — the first woman to hold the title — and continued in that role until she retired in 2005. The Seegers cared greatly for the students, and even arranged for GVSU students studying abroad in Germany to live with their family. The Seegers have several scholarships in their honor. One for students studying abroad, called the Mary A. and Wilhelm W. Seeger Global Programs Scholarship, and another for incoming freshman majoring in a for-

eign language. Not only did Seeger give a lot to the GVSU community, but she received a lot of recognition and awards for her services. She was presented the Grand Valley Women’s Commission Maxine Swanson Award in 1999, Progress in Equity Award in 2000, the Women and Gender Studies Barbara Jordan Award in 2001, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the Arend D. Lubbers Award in 2010. She was also recognized as a women’s advocate by YWCA in 2013.

Grand Valley... will be forever grateful for her legacy.” Kathleen VanderVeen Associate Vice President for Equity, Policy and Compliance Dean Seeger made a tremendous impact at GVSU. She created ten programs to improve the lives of GVSU students and had been active in countless groups dedicated to women’s rights and equality. She led the university in its first climate

study in 1993 and the equal salary study in 1999. Associate Vice President for Equity, Policy and Compliance Kathleen VanderVeen said that because of Seeger’s work and pushing for equality, the university had improved considerably. With Seeger’s efforts, change was coming to GVSU. “Grand Valley, and all of us who stand on (Seeger’s) shoulders, will be forever grateful for her legacy,” VanderVeen said. Seeger pushed for LGBT issues to be studied, established the Women’s Commission and helped narrow the gap in pay between male and female staff members. Not only did Seeger improve her school, she also helped enhance her community. She served as the president for the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council from 2000-2010 and for the Michigan Trails from 1995-2001. The Seegers dedicated more than 45 years of their lives to the improvement of the university. They continue to improve the lives of students through scholarships and the advancement made on campus even today. Seeger is survived by her husband Bill, sisters Kathryn George Johnson and Jane Elizabeth El Shami, brother-in law Joe and his wife Polly. She also leaves behind many friends and countless people whose lives she had impacted.

IMPACT: Seeger became the first female dean in 1989 and served the GVSU community for 16 years. COURTESY | GVSU

A8&9 | NEWS

LEADER: Wardrop supported GVSU for ten years, serving as the GVU director for five. COURTESY | GVSU

GVU Foundation director John Wardrop mourned


EQUALITY: Seeger’s legacy includes several scholarships and the fight for LGBT and women’s rights. Her continued efforts earned her several awards and leadership titles. COURTESY | GVSU

Longtime Grand Valley State University supporter and Grand Valley University (GVU) Foundation director John D. Wardrop died Friday, June 21 at 82 years old. Wardrop was an active donor and supporter of GVSU for over a decade. He served as a GVU Foundation director since 2014 and was a member of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies Advisory Cabinet since 2018. Wardrop helped in establishing the mentor program for the center’s Cook Leadership Academy Fellows. 

The Hauenstein Center sent out a tweet on the day of Wardrop’s passing, saying that he was a “devoted mentor to our Cook Leadership Academy students, and a good friend to them all. He will be sorely missed.” Friends and family remember Wardrop fondly in his obituary, stating that “John loved the ‘Improvement Association’ and was so pleased and honored to be a part of those wonderful individuals, their luncheons, discussions, differences and especially the oatmeal raisin cookies.” Wardrop is survived by his wife, Maribeth Wardrop, sons Scott and Brett Wardrop, and grandsons Connor, John and Devin Wardrop.

GV professor Diane Kimoto Bonetti remembered by peers BY SARAH EDGECOMB NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University associate professor Diane Kimoto Bonetti died June 21 after spending 22 years at the university. Kimoto Bonetti served as associate professor of public, nonprofit and health administration and was also a member of the College Advisory Committee for the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration (SPNHA). Professor and SPNHA director Richard Jelier said that her ability to connect with students contributed to her impact. “She was one of those professors that was extremely approachable to students, very unpretentious, very warm and inviting,” Jelier

said. “She had some really unique skill sets in being able to connect with students and make material really alive and interesting to them.” Kimoto Bonetti used her experience in communications to foster relationships with both students and the community through partnerships with organizations like the Michigan Department of Health and Healthy Kent. Her expertise was also beneficial in communication and career development workshops as well as grant writing courses. “She brought a lot of life experience into the classroom for kids to relate with, and she also really believed that students need to be connected to our community,” Jelier said. “She created a lot of student projects that required

them to connect with real community-based organizations.” A private memorial was held for Kimoto Bonetti Sunday, June 30 and was “well-attended,” according to Jelier. While GVSU currently does not hold plans for a university-wide memorial, Jelier said that students have approached him about starting a scholarship in her name. “She was the kind of professor that no one would ever feel intimidated talking to... a lot of students gravitated to her with any unique problems or challenges they might have,” he said. “She loved students, she loved connecting with them, she went the extra mile to know what made students tick. She will really be missed.”

INVITING: Kimoto Bonetti’s warm attitude made her a student favorite to talk to. COURTESY | GVSU


Throughout the month of June, middle school girls had the opportunity to build and fly their own radio-controlled airplanes at Grand Valley State University’s annual STEPS day camp. The Science Technology and Engineering Preview Summer camp offers a hands on experience in flight concepts and engineering through two sessions, each culminating in a Fly Night at Warped Wings Fly Field. Thanks to Grand Valley’s partnership with Battle Creek Public Schools, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a number of STEPS-specific sponsors, the campers went on field trips to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and the Amway/ Alticor airplane hanger. They also got to meet with Tim Evans, GVSU associate biology professor who went on a 45-day NASA simulated space mission, as well as the GVSU engineering students who personally built and tested a device for NASA’s Houston Space Center. The camp had nearly 100 girls participating, from middle schools across both West Michigan and Battle Creek. 


Sheldon Avenue has a colorful new street mural thanks to the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority and Grand Valley State University alumni Joey Salamon. Salamon, whose passion for murals goes back to his days at Calder Art Center, used 40 gallons of paint to cover the 7,000 square feet of pavement making up “Rainbow Road.” The mural, located next to Apartment Lounge (Michigan’s oldest, consistently-operating LGBTQ bar), commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. According to city officials, “Rainbow Road” is the most extensive street mural in the City of Grand Rapids. The design incorporates both the classic rainbow of the gay flag as well as Salamon’s own geometric style.


Grand Valley’s Police Academy took a field trip to neighborhoods in the West Side of Grand Rapids last month, handing out crime prevention brochures and a total of 960 LED light bulbs to local residents. The exercise was intended to give trainees an opportunity to serve and interact positively with the community. The 2019 class of 48 recruits (37 men and 11 women) is the largest that the university has ever seen. The recruits started in April and will graduate mid-August at the end of GVSU’s spring and summer semesters. The “in-service” recruits who were hired before the semester started will then move on to complete field training under the law enforcement agencies who sponsored them. This year, there are 17 in-service recruits, coming from the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, Muskegon City Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.



Athletic Director Keri Becker joins governor’s task force BY YSABELA GOLDEN LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM

Created by an executive order of new Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Task Force on Women in Sports has three jobs: to assess the past and present of women’s sports in Michigan, to develop plans that promote opportunities for girls and women in sports and to report their findings to the governor herself. Grand Valley State University’s own athletic director, Keri Becker, couldn’t be happier to work alongside the other fourteen members serving these goals. “I’m honored to be a part of these conversations,” Becker said. “There’s two big reasons I said yes. One, when the governor calls you to help with something like this, I don’t think you can say no. Two, I think about all the women who came before me and paved the way. I want to make sure I give back to all the women who are going to come after.” Much of the research examined by the task force in their Thursday, June 27 meeting reading was from the Women in Sports Foundation on gender bias in college sports, especially in regards to women coaches, as well as the “2019 Gender and Racial Report Card” given to the NBA by The Institute For Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The report detailed the

gender makeup of not just coach hires, but team management, presidents and league offices. “Careers in sports are more than just playing them,” Becker said. “It’s manning the front office, marketing, journalism, communications, sales. It’s a lot of different positions we see dominated by men. The president of the Red Wings, he wants very much to get more women working for him, but they’re not in the pipeline. That’s what we want to break through and break down. You could replace ‘athletics’ with engineering, with the sciences. It’s the same conversation.” The Women in Sports Foundation also described the physical and psychological benefits of playing sports for girls, who are statistically less likely to play than boys. “We know that more and more girls are not playing sports,” Becker said. “We need kids to cultivate those skills that come from being part of a team. Women are given opportunities at the college level because of their opportunities on the youth level. So it’s not just about K-12 sports or community sports, but both that puts them in the pipeline for college level and equips them for their careers afterward. When you do research into women entrepreneurs, women who are leading companies, they have sports in their back-

ON TASK: Becker is excited to grow opporunities for women in her field. COURTESY | KERI BECKER

ground. It can be foundational.” In Becker’s opinion, GVSU is an excellent example of collegiate sports that supports student athletes — both men and women — the right way. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


Energizing Our World Camp educates on sustainable energy BY KATHERINE ARNOLD LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM

CAMPERS: A focused student experiments with the science of aviation. GVL | MARIN SMITH

The 2019 Energizing Our World camp took a strong step towards promoting sustainability and the education of young students about how to make the world a more environmentally-friendly place through better energy practices. From June 17-20, students aged 11-15 interacted with hands-on learning opportunities and a strong team of individuals dedicated to spreading positivity through sustainability education.   The camp featured seven content sessions, each focusing on a different topic revolving around sustainable energy. Energy Exploration, Hydropower, Wind Power and Solar Power were a few sessions that explored their own type of energy. Each session was geared to be a step towards creating a prototype that successfully utilized different kinds of sustainable energy.  Their field trip to the Holland Energy

Park is designed to show every student what a real version of sustainable energy looks like. The park is uniquely able to demonstrate multiple types of power: natural gas, coal, wind, biomass and even landfill gas. With a grand total of 16 percent of their energy arising from these power sources, it serves as a place for kids to learn more about which practices can make energy more sustainable. Over seven content sessions, they will examine a variety of energy types and models in order to gather the information needed to perfect their prototypes. Wind power, for example, will be a session where the kids can experiment with different variables in order to create the most efficient prototype. After the varied content sessions and the field trip, the students worked in “In-





GV students featured at MEGA art exhibit BY MARY RACETTE ARTS@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University graduate students are featured in the 2019 Michigan Emerging Graduate Artists (MEGA) exhibit at the Urban Contemporary Institute of Art (UICA).  

The Masters Student Collective (MSC) of the Kendall College of Art and Design’s ninth annual MEGA exhibit features graduates and undergraduates who earned their degree this year from a Michigan academic institution. The exhibit opened its doors to the public Friday, July 12 and will remain open until Tuesday, Sept. 8.

VIEWING: Patrons move from instillation to instillation and admire art created by the 2019 Michigan Emerging Artists, which is hosted at the Urban Contemporary Institute of Art. GVL | BENAJMIN HUNT

Working alongside the team from the MSC, MEGA 2019 will be Kathryn Cardenas’ first year volunteering as the exhibit’s communication director and project manager.   Cardenas said the primary goal of the exhibit is to feature students in a “formal, external venue.”  “(MEGA) provides a platform for (students) to exhibit their works that could potentially catapult their artistic careers or serve as a springboard to other opportunities,” Cardenas said. MEGA gives students the freedom to create their art, only setting guidelines regarding size and installation. Cardenas said the exhibit showcases a range of artforms including sculptures, drawings, paintings, printmaking, installation and time-based art.   This year’s jurors include Juana Williams and Christine Walters. Both jurors have an extensive background of art education and experiences which they brought to the judging panel.  Students from across the state apply to be selected into the exhibition by the jury. Cardenas said there are many talented artists who compete to be featured each year, and this year only twenty artists were selected.  “MEGA highlights the most accomplished Michigan Graduate students and graduating undergraduate students as they begin their professional careers in the art

field,” Cardenas said. “Members of the community and universities come to see the exhibit because of the promising talent.” Caitlyn Brandt is a recent GVSU graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. Her piece “Untitled (Glen)” is one of the GVSU student pieces included in MEGA.  Her work is a large oil painting which depicts an abstracted landscape. Through her use of colors and patterns, she illustrates themes of reality and the invented.   The Visual and Media Arts Department at GVSU supported Brandt’s growth as an artist. In addition to MEGA, Brandt said GVSU opened the door for her to experience “life changing” opportunities, including a scholarship to the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist’s Residency and a study abroad experience completing a summer course in London.   Brandt said it was rewarding for her and her work to be displayed at MEGA. “It’s invigorating to show alongside other talented artists,’’ Brandt said.  Brandt, among the other GVSU graduate students featured in the statewide MEGA exhibition, are showcasing the skills and education they developed during their time at GVSU.   LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE



For Grand Valley State University students who habitually check Rate My Professor before a semester starts, searching for “Professor Vélez Ortiz” might lead to some confusion — there are two results for the name. The first, Professor Melba, might find it difficult to compete with the startlingly perfect score of her colleague Professor Chad, despite being well-recommended herself. She has a theory for his success with students. “Chad is a graduate from Guide Dogs for the Blind, which is the largest and most prestigious dog school in the U.S. and the UK,” Vélez Ortiz, his owner, said. “Basically, he’s from Harvard for guide dogs.” “They didn’t tell me basically until graduation that Chad would have to come into the classroom with me,” Vélez Ortiz said. “I freaked out. I’m already competing with Instagram, you want me to bring a cute puppy into class? “But Chad has been huge,” she said. “Students see me come in with him, and they immediately know what’s going on. They know it’s a team effort. They say hello to Chad before class — who is always loving — and they come in ready to learn. Chad calms them down, and everyone is looking out for one another.” Professor Vélez Ortiz subverts what some might expect of her subject through her view

that all communication classes are, in fact, ethics classes. “Ethics is just an ugly word for rules of engagement, or, even more simply, promises,” Vélez Ortiz said. “The first thing I do in my classes is explain what I mean by ethics. My students usually think I’m going to spend all semester telling them not to steal pencils from work. But all kinds of criminal organizations have rules of engagement — it’s all contextual... Any instance in which an individual has to negotiate their own wellbeing versus a collective wellbeing... That’s ethics.” Ethics and communications have an ancient and storied history together. Vélez Ortiz’s has been particularly interested in the pan-African ideal of ma’at — and what is arguably the world’s first formal ethical system. “Studying ethics, you read a lot of Greek texts — Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus — and they all have these footnotes about how they learned this and that from people they knew as Ethiopians,” Vélez Ortiz said. “I thought, ‘How come there are all these references, but no books on these ancient Africans when the Greeks are honest about just trying to adapt what the Ethiopians had done?’ So I said my first sabbatical I would take the time to figure out what the heck was going on here.” Their guiding rule of justice and balance was

COLLEAGUES: Professors Melba and Chad Vélez Ortiz take a break from their work in the classroom to spend time together outdoors. Chad assists his owner with her limited vision. COURTESY | MELBA

immortalized by the Egyptians, who turned the concept into a teachable story that can still be seen in society today. “In the afterlife, you enter a hall where there are twelve parts of the ‘divine’ and a woman holding a scale,” Vélez Ortiz said. “Today, when you think about a court, you have twelve jurors. You have a judge. If you think about how we represent justice today, she has scales, does she not? All of that is a direct reference to the concept of ma’at.” Those interested in Professor Melba and

Chad’s unique approach to Communications can take their general education sessions of COM 348, where ethics, rules of engagement and the ideal of ma’at are explored in greater detail. “It’s better when you have engineers in there, nurses, mathematicians,” Vélez Ortiz said. “That’s what makes it good. Once you figure out what the right thing to do is, then you have to communicate it in a way that doesn’t alienate and isn’t rejected. Persuasion is paramount, especially when it’s over something you really care about.”


The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of American (CSCAA) announced earlier this week that a combined 12 Grand Valley State swimming & diving student athletes were named to the Scholar All-American Team for the 2018-19 season. The award recognizes students that have achieved a GPA of 3.50 or higher and competed at their respective NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The selections f0r awards span across all collegiate divisions. For the women’s team, Caroline Breretin, Nicole Carlson, Lara Deibel, Melina Goebel, Cela Hoag, Mikayla Karasek, Abigail Sauerbrei and Megan Shaughnessy earned the AllAmerican honors. The men’s team saw similar academic success, as J.D. Ham, Jonathan Loshinskie, Harry Shalamon and Ben Walling all earned the respectable honor.


Grand Valley State athletics was honored by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Adminstrators (NACMA) at the 2018-19 annual convention in Orlando, Florida, with seven category awards. With two golds, two silvers, and three bronze awards, GVSU topped all other DII schools in total awards from NACMA for the 2018-19 academic year. Started in 2003, the NACMA Best of Awards program honors outstanding achievement in marketing and promotions. GVSU was able to win gold in the Season Ticket Sales Campaign (Every Game Counts) and Single Game Sales Campaign (Game Day Special). Both these respective promotions also won awards for Multi-Platform Branding Campaign and Student Promotion. In the bronze category, GVSU earned honors for Digital Video Segment (Emoji Day), Fan Giveaway Promotion (Bomber Hat-Football Game) and Fan Engagement Video (Is Water Wet?-Football). GVSU has been awarded a total of 72 national awards from NACMA since 2006.



Home field advantage Jamie Hosford Football Center opens for GV Football BY KELLEN VOSS SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

More than 400 people gathered Wednesday, June 19, to celebrate the opening of the renovated and expanded Jamie Hosford Football center. The two-floor facility features brand new athletic training and rehabilitation rooms for all GVSU athletic programs to use, along with designated meeting rooms for positional groups and a state-of-the-art team room and locker room to give the GVSU football team time to strategize and prepare to dominate their GLIAC opponents. Hosford was talented in more ways than one in his time in Allendale, as he won 12 varsity letters in football, wrestling, golf, baseball and track before graduating from GVSU in 1978. He died after a lengthy battle with cancer in 2014 at the age of 58. It was no small feat to get this center opened, as current GVSU athletic director Keri Becker said it was a main goal of hers and former athletic director Tim Selgo since Becker took her position in 2016 “Selgo thought of the idea that we needed to put some work into it, but it’s mainly a matter of managing the budget,” Becker said about the planning process for the center. “Since I’ve been in the seat, it’s been something that we’ve been working on, trying to find the right combination of support from

the university and from our donors.” The new expansions were 100 percent donor funded, as more than 700 GVSU football fans and alums banded to together to get the building of this center in motion. GVSU has been a Division II football powerhouse so far in the 21st century, and they finally have the top-notch to help keep those winning traditions. Seeing all the hard work she and many others put into the process of getting the center open gave Becker much satisfaction. “It was a great utilization of an existing building with the additions, and the end product looks brand new,” Becker said. “It was so impressive what we got out of the renovation, took a space that was not made for what it was being used for at the time and made it into a space where our student athletes can get better at the game of football and cultivate the relationship of a team. To bring in that team room where our entire team can be in one place and the expansion in the locker room was a huge piece.” When asked if there was anyone she wanted to specifically thank through the process, Becker struggled to come up with names simply because of the sheer amount of people that helped make this happen. “We couldn’t have done it without Scott Richardson taking this as a priority and taking this in front of president Haas; I certainly have to thank president Haas for making

the decision to make this a priority in his watch,” Becker said. “There are so many people to thank for bringing this all together, from our 700 plus donors that came out to support this project, to our athletic staff, our campus staff and facilities to the development office. I can’t be specific but that’s what’s great about this campus: a lot of people came together to raise this money and bring everything to life from start to finish in such a crushed time frame.” GVSU will look to keep this facility in tip-top shape, not only to help current football players and staff, but also to help recruit more student athletes looking to embody what GVSU athletics is all about. “Facilities will always be a continuous thing that we look at, we plan to maintain the facilities we have, so when you take a facility like that that’s such a huge piece of the recruiting process,” Becker said. That’s a priority for our football staff and our student athletes. That’s their home, and it’s up to them to take care of that space and keep it fresh and clean and be the face that reps what Grand Valley football is all about.” GVSU Football will use the center to help them prepare for their first game, which will take place at Lubbers Stadium on Saturday, September 7, at 7:00 p.m., as the Lakers look to pick up a Week one win against the Edinboro Fighting Scots.


On June 26, five of Grand Valley State’s cross country and track and field athletes were named 2019 Google Cloud NCAA Division II Academic All-Americans by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Josh Steible was the sole male GVSU student athlete honored as a second team All-American, while four female athletes were able to earn honors for their efforts in the classroom, as Sarah Berger earned first-team honors, Madison Goen and Hanna Groeber earned second-team awards and Gina Patterson earned third-team accolades. Each Laker posted a GPA of 3.73 or higher, with Goen topping all Lakers with an astounding 3.92 GPA in the Biomedical Science field.

RAD RENOVATIONS: Named after GVSU legend Jamie Hosford, the state-of-the-art football center opened up earlier this summer to a crowd of hundreds. The center features team meeting rooms, coaches’ offices and a rehabilitation center for all GVSU athletes to use. COURTESY | GVSULAKERS.COM




Former GVSU pitcher Allison Lipovsky signs to play professional softball in Alabama BY KELLEN VOSS SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

Every athlete dreams of professionally playing the sport they love one day, and that dream came true for former GVSU pitcher Allison Lipovsky who was picked third overall in the 2019 American Softball Association (ASBA) draft by Performance Lab on Wednesday, June 6. The ASBA, based out of Mobile, Alabama, is a professional league consisting of four teams playing a six week schedule from June 14 to July 31. The league is one step below the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), the top professional softball league in America. Liposvky was one of the most talented pitchers to ever pitch in the Laker Blue, as in her senior season, she posted a program-record 33 wins alongside a 0.94 ERA, and a nation-leading 18 shutouts and 362 strikeouts. Opposing lineups were only able to hit .158 off the powerful righty during the 2018 season. These impressive statistics helped Lipovsky fill up her trophy case, as she earned honors as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Pitcher of the year for the second year and as the GLIAC Pitcher of the year for the third year. She leaves GVSU as the career leader in strikeouts per seven innings (9.76) and lowest opponent batting average (.154), to go with a dominant 82-14 record, a 1.04 ERA and 968 career strikeouts – the second most in program history. After signing with an agent earlier this summer, Lipovsky had no idea where her professional career would take her, but her life changed in a week, as less than 150 hours after Lipovsky was drafted she started playing in the league. “I actually didn’t apply to be in the draft until the Friday before the draft because we just finished up our season and that week I got contacted by an agency, and when I got picked in that third round I was very excited,” Lipovsky said. “I got drafted on a Wednesday, and I left the following Tuesday to come down here, and I started playing games that following Friday.” While she is getting used to the extreme heat in the Heart of Dixie, Lipovsky is focusing on using a larger arsenal of pitches to succeed against Alabama hitters. “It’s a lot hotter in Alabama, so that wears on your body a little more,” Lipovsky said. “I think that my mindset has changed a little bit. Some of the girls down here are just big power hitters. We just got to make sure to keep the ball down and not go at them with the same pitch over and over again, but I’m relying on other pitches like my changeup to keep hitters off balance” After the 2019 season ends at the end of this month, Lipovsky will return to Allendale to finish up her last semester to earn a bachelor’s degree in secondary education.

HITTING THEM WITH THE HEAT: Former Grand Valley State pitcher Allison Lipovsky throws all her momentum forward to get as much velocity as possible in her pitch during a game with the Performance Lab as part of the American Softball Association in Mobile, Alabama. COURTESY | ASBA SOFTBALL

She will return to professional softball the next few years, spending her summers on the mound when she’s not in the classroom. “When I signed with an agent, I signed a contract for a couple of years, so I’ll be playing ball in the summer time, wherever that takes me,” Liposvky said. “I may end up overseas, and I can try to find a teaching job. I’m hoping I can play for a couple more years before I hang up the cleats.” In the few weeks spent in Mobile, Li-

posvky has created lifelong bonds with her teammates. She said it still feels surreal to her that she gets to play professional softball, and credits all her time at GVSU for getting her where she is today. “The girls I’ve met out here are people that I’ll be friends with the rest of my life, and I think I’m a little closer with them than I was with my college team because we all have the same professional goals and we’re all having a great time,”

Lipovsky said. “At Grand Valley, we had a great softball community; some of the facilities are phenomenal there and being able to use those facilities and work under (assistant coach) Jen Rivera and being able to learn from her and use her as a mentor was huge. She really helped me start to focus on mixing pitches, trying to rely on different pitches depending on which bats are in the count and help prepare me professionally.”




PUSHING THROUGH PAIN: Former GVSU runner Zach Panning runs towards the front of the pack. COURTESY | A. STEIBLE

Zach Panning has been winning national titles and rewriting the GVSU cross country and track and field record books for the past five years, but if it wasn’t for one phone call, he wouldn’t have repped the “Laker Blue.” “I was actually committed to Temple University, and during my senior year of cross country, the head coach called me and told me that the track program was getting cut,” Panning said. “After that, there wasn’t much hesitation, and I kinda knew that was God’s way of saying, ‘You kinda made the wrong choice, so I am going to help you out. You belong in Allendale.’” Panning started running for the Lakers in the fall of 2015 as a redshirt (RS) freshman and wasted no time making an impact on the program. In his first track and field season, Panning earned U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-American honors in the Indoor and Outdoor 5,000m races after third-and eighth-place finishes.  “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for the guys who graduated before me,” Panning said. “I think of people like Allen Peterson, who was here while I was a freshman. I idolized those guys and tried to emulate everything that they did so that I could be the best person and athlete I could be.” Following his RS freshman year, Panning continued to add more accomplishments to his mantle after earning USTFCCCA All-American honors in both the Indoor and Outdoor 3,000 and 5,000m races. But it was off the track where he truly won gold.  “I met my future wife Justine at Grand Valley,” Panning said. “She’s in the masters accounting program here at GVSU.”  During Panning’s junior and senior seasons, it was apparent he was one of the best to ever run for GVSU. Over those two years, he won a pair of Outdoor National titles in the 5,000m run, another in the 10,000m run, while also being selected as the

Men’s USTFCCCA Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. In his eyes, none of these accolades hold a candle to the Mike Lynch award he was given by his teammates at the conclusion of his senior year. “It meant a lot coming from my teammates and it showed me that I was doing something right as a leader,” Panning said.  Throughout the duration of his career, Panning’s teams won a total of 12 GLIAC titles, three Cross Country Regional titles, and one Cross Country National title in 2018. Panning has had great success over the past four years, but the thing he is going to miss most about GVSU is not the awards or trophies, but his teammates.  “I’m going to miss the everyday runs out on the dirt roads with all the guys and talking amongst each other,” Panning said. “I wish I knew then to soak in all these moments. I’ve been here for five years but they have been the fastest three years of my life.”  Although his career may be officially over at GVSU, it still hasn’t quite set in that Panning is an alumni.  “It hasn’t really hit me that I’m done running at Grand Valley, because over the summer I have been training on campus and racing in the Grand Valley uniform,” Panning said. “As of now, it just feels like another summer but I’m sure that will change once I start running somewhere else.”  Going forward, Panning will be weighing his options before deciding on a professional running group to sign with, an achievement that he says wouldn’t have been possible without the support of countless others.  “The athletic training staff has been very helpful and they are there for us every day,” Panning said. “And my assistant coach (Aaron Watson) has been there for me every step of the way and has helped me with my training.”  Panning’s legacy will forever be remembered as one of the best runners in GVSU history, but it can be argued that his biggest impact was felt off the track.


GVSU women’s golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux quietly goes for ninth GLIAC Coach of the Year Award BY SEAN CAUVET SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

“Now that I have some more experience, I’m realizing that I didn’t know anything when I was in my twenties. I’m glad someone saw something in me back then, but sometimes I wonder how I even coached a team back then.” That is where Grand Valley State University women’s golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux started out. As of summer 2019, she has won the GLIAC Coach of the Year Award eight out of the last 11 years, including this past season. However, Mailloux says that success did not happen overnight. After she graduated college, she spent a few years trying to make it as a professional golfer, but it was not working out. Mailloux says that the Adam Sandler movie “Happy Gilmore” does a good job showing what the life of a professional golfer entails; only the top two to three players win money, putting heavy pressure on golfers to perform. “When you are a professional golfer, everything is about you,” Mailloux said. “You have to be selfish or you won’t make it. That’s eventually why I quit being a professional golfer. I wasn’t finding any satisfaction or fulfillment in it anymore.” Mailloux said that she didn’t have an “epiphany moment” when she made the switch to coaching, she just found herself watching other people’s techniques and trying to help them more

than focusing on her own game. At 23 years old, Mailloux quit professional golf to be the head women’s golf coach at Saint Leo University. “My former college coach at South Florida’s husband was the men’s head golf coach at Saint Leo,” Mailloux said. “I sat down with him and he convinced me to go for the job and I got it. Overall, I liked coaching at Saint Leo, but I was only part-time and didn’t have the resources to be successful.” At Saint Leo, Mailloux had access to 0.25 scholarships. Currently at GVSU, she has access to 5.4 scholarships to give out, the maximum amount for a DII school. Mailloux said her goal as a coach is always to be in the National Championship, but for her it’s more than that. “I know what the girls will remember more than anything are the memories we make when we go on these tournament trips,” Mailloux said. “They may not be happy that we go on hikes or other excursions, but those are things they will remember, not the wins and losses.” Former GVSU women’s golfer Mackenzie Blomberg said Mailloux’s best coaching trait is how much she cares about the players she’s working with. “Being with her all of my four years here, she taught me so much,” Blomberg said. “She genuinely cares about each player and just knowing that made such a difference for me and my

confidence level.” The players aren’t the only ones that are benefiting from Mailloux’s coaching, as she loves getting to see these student athletes improve as golfers and mature as women. LOG ON TO: FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

LEADERSHIP: GVSU golf coach Rebecca Mailloux has won 8 of the last 11 GLIAC Coach of the Year Honors GVL | ARCHIVE

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Issue 1, July 15, 2019 - Grand Valley Lanthorn  

Issue 1, July 15, 2019 - Grand Valley Lanthorn