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Lakers Give Back during outreach week

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Photo: Courtesy photo / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Courtesy / Eric Stevens
A GVSU student volunteers at Harrison Park Middle School during community outreach week.

More than 600 Grand Valley State University volunteers are planning on participating in the university’s fifth annual Community Outreach Week from March 18-23.

Sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Community Service Learning Center, COW will consist of Lakers from around the world contributing to service projects in their communities.

Eric Stevens, a member of Service Initiatives of the Office of Student Life said anyone interested can get involved.

“There are two ways to get involved,” Stevens said. “An individual can either create their own project that they can do on their own or that others can join them on, or an individual can go to the website and find a project in their area and sign up and volunteer.”

Alumni, current students and friends of GVSU are invited to join in on a project. Projects are currently listed in Thailand, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Nebraska.

“For GVSU students, we have two projects: one on Monday and one on Friday, where transportation is provided if they would like to get involved,” Stevens added.

Abigayle Sloan, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations said COW started when the Alumni Association joined with the Community Service Learning Center in 2009. The two organizations wanted to give alumni and students an opportunity to volunteer in the name of GVSU in their communities with projects that are meaningful to them.

The program is designed to unite Lakers around the world with a week of service. This is one of the only events organized by the university that anyone can participate in, no matter their location, ability, or background.

COW has been a success for the past four years, and coordinators of this event, including Sloan, hope that it will continue to grow.

“We have already doubled our individual project participation over last year’s number of 51,” Sloan said. “We expect to have approximately 650 volunteers, and we would love to see students embrace this event and make it a Grand Valley tradition while they are undergrads and continue participating as alumni.”

In 2012, 625 volunteers logged more than 2,000 hours of service during COW.

“COW keeps growing with its participants and collaborations,” Stevens said. “We hope that more and more alumni and students will keep getting involved and help their surrounding communities. We are all Lakers for a Lifetime, and Lakers give back!”

If you are interested in participating, projects are detailed online at www.gvsu.edu/cow.
smithj@lanthorn.com



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