Are you Grand Valley?

Event recognizes, encourages student leaders

By Stephanie Brzezinski | 9/29/13 6:34pm


Courtesy / Office of Student Life
2012 I am Grand Valley Reception. A record 1,600 nominations were received.

Grand valley State University and the Office of Student Life will host the 10th annual “I am Grand
Valley” kickoff event, which will open the nomination process for student leaders on campus.

The kickoff is held to “increase excitement and reward students for being a leader,” said Tess Bandos,
Office of Student Life staff assistant. “We want to recognize people who have gone above and beyond
what a normal college student does and encourage it for the future.”

Bandos is coordinating the event this year and said that faculty, staff and students can nominate other
students to receive recognition for being leaders in the campus community.

“You can nominate anyone who you feel is a good leader or representative of Grand Valley in general,”
Bandos said. “To show spirit for leadership and school.”

Once a student is nominated, they have to accept the nomination online. Then students will be able to
rsvp for the Jan. 15 leadership reception, where students will be given an award and an “I am Grand
Valley” T-shirt. The reception is for both recipients and those who nominated them.

Bandos said last year about 1,000 people were nominated for the award, but she emphasized that the
process is not competitive, meaning there is not a limited number of people who get awarded each
year. Anyone can be nominated and anyone can receive recognition, as long as they rsvp.

All gvsu students, faculty and staff can attend the kickoff event, and computers will be provided for
people to start nominating potential leadership award recipients. Bandos also said the event will have
prizes as incentives for people to start the nominating process on the spot. Nominations will be
accepted online through Dec. 6.

The kickoff event will also feature information about leadership opportunities in the area for students
to discover ways to get involved in things that interest them, such as student organizations on

“Leadership is important in general because it’s the motivation behind every action,” Bandos said,
adding that it is important to get involved early to “grow as a leader.”

The ODK National Leadership Honor Society is also involved in the event.

Andrew Brown, a senior at GVSU, has been a member for two years and is the ODK president this year.

“Our society has committed this year to reach out and work in accordance with the Laker Leadership
Programs to assist in the development of young student leaders,” Andrew said. “We hope to reach out
to students and help make them more aware of leadership initiatives on campus, especially the ‘I am
GV’ campaign, as well as ODK.”

He said the ODK society was mostly “hands-off” with the planning, but the group’s executive board
will be helping set up and run the tables the day of the event. ODK members will be wearing their “I
am Grand Valley” t-shirts to encourage students to get involved on campus and nominate student

“Leadership is important throughout our entire lives, not just on campus,” Andrew said. “It is very
important for students to learn what kind of leader they are, their skills and strengths, and what
leadership means to them while they have those opportunities available.”

In the future, ODK will be sponsoring the Case Study Competition at GVSU’s Leadership Summit, which
is an annual conference on the various aspects of leadership that draws attendees from across the
state. Bandos also said the first Wednesday of every month is “I am Grand Valley” day, when students
should wear their leadership T-shirts.

The kickoff event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 2 in the Kirkhof Center lobby. For
more information about “I am Grand Valley” and the nomination process, visit

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