GVSU lends a helping hand
Helping Hands assist with move-in
President Thomas J. Haas worked alongside Helping Hands—a group of administrators, faculty, students and alumni at Grand Valley State University—to direct traffic, help students check-in, carry items from cars to rooms, and welcome nearly 5,000 students and their families to campus during move-in week.
“This is an organization that really makes a difference,” said Andy Beachnau, director of Housing at GVSU.
The university’s housing page indicates that the first six weeks at college are critical to retention and to student satisfaction, and for first-year students, the first few days are the most important. The purpose of Helping Hands is not only to help students move, but to also get acclimated to the university quicker by making new students’ first hours on campus a positive and inclusive experience.
The program was founded in 1994 and then only consisted of a handful of volunteers. Nearly 20 years later, hundreds of volunteers offered help during move-in week.
Haas and his wife, Marcia, have also been involved with move-in week for the last eight years. The Haas family made an appearance on campus Aug. 21 as it served ice cream to students and their families in front of Kleiner Commons.
Colleen Bailey, associate director for Housing and Residence Life, said this year there were 400 hours worth of faculty and staff volunteering and more than 2,000 hours worth of help from students.
“The volunteers with Helping Hands made move-in a lot easier,” said freshman Abbey Rickelmann of the Seidman Living Center. “It helped so much having them, and I wasn’t as stressed because of their help.”