GVSU students take time to thank donors, ask officials funding questions

Future Alumni Association sponsors GVS(You) Week

By Carly Simpson | 2/16/14 6:35pm

This week, students at Grand Valley State University will have the chance to thank donors and ask university officials questions about funding. The annual event, GVS Week, will run from Feb. 17 through Feb. 22.

In 2013, about 15,900 students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, corporations and foundations donated to GVSU. Private donations totaled $10.3 million, according to the 2013 Annual Report on Giving.

“Grand Valley was founded on philanthropy in the Grand Rapids community, and that tradition of philanthropy is something I hope to see students carry forward into the future,” said Liz Kolberg, coordinator of student philanthropy. “It is a great way to help ensure the services and opportunities you enjoy today will be possible for students tomorrow.”

GVS week is sponsored by the Future Alumni Association, a chapter of the GVSU Alumni Association.

“The goal of the week is to educate students about where their tuition dollars are going,” said Emma Lazzar, a senior at GVSU and president of the Future Alumni Association. “Many don’t understand that they aren’t paying for a professor to be here. Tuition goes to the general running of the university, and it doesn’t last the whole year. We have to have private donations.”

According to the 2013-2014 Accountability Report, first-time student annual tuition is $10,454. Revenue from tuition along with net fees made up 51.1 percent of GVSU’s total revenue in 2013.

State appropriations made up 13 percent of the total revenue with $2,588 per student. The remaining revenue came from grants, contracts, self-supporting enterprises, investment income, gifts, capital grants and additions to endowment.

GVSU reported Friday that the endowment fund reached an all-time high of $98.5 million as of Dec. 31, 2013.

Lazzar said GVSU Week isn’t just about monetary donations, though.

“The week shows students how they can be a part of running our university,” she said. “Students don’t have $5,000 to throw at a building or a project, but you can give back with your skills that you’ve gained, by volunteering, or by showing support for your fellow students.”

The Future Alumni Association will have tables set up in the Kirkhof Center on Wednesday for students to sign thank-you cards to donors. A table will be set up for students downtown on Thursday in the atrium of the DeVos Center.

Each day, members of the association will be available at the tables from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for students to ask questions about funding and donors. In addition, the group is hosting a hot chocolate social tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. by the clock tower.

“I really want students to understand the importance of being a Laker for a Lifetime,” Lazzar said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean donating all your money, but to be invested in something bigger than yourself. If Grand Valley gave you something then why not donate a little bit of yourself back to Grand Valley?”


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