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Roast of GVSU raises money for charity

Some truth behind the jokes


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Photo: Laine Girard / Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVL / Laine Girard
President Thomas Haas gets burned a few times but takes it like a good sport for the GVSU roast charity event held at 48 west.

Tuition and diversity were the brunt of most of the jokes for the five comedians at Monday’s Roast of Grand Valley: Featuring President Haas.

At Grand Valley State University, students in HTM 240: Introduction to Meeting and Event Management, led by professor Patricia Janes, organized the roast to raise money for Michigan’s chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The night started out with Luis Valencia, who is majoring in secondary education at GVSU.

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GVL / Laine Girard Student comedians roast GVSU and President Thomas Haas for a great cause.
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GVL / Laine Girard Student comedians roast GVSU and President Thomas Haas for the make a wish foundation.

“It’s not the greatest feeling being the only Mexican in a Spanish class,” Valencia said. “I come in on the first day and I’ll be a little late, and kids will ask me ‘Where’s the syllabus? How much homework are we going to have? How many tests are there?’ I just walked in the room, and I’m sitting in the back. Then the teacher walks in, ‘Oh, sorry, wrong room; have a nice day.’”

At GVSU there are 1,025 students who identify as Hispanic or Latino. This is 4.2 percent of the total 24,477 students who attended the university in fall 2013.

James Morton, an alumnus of GVSU and a current semifinalist for funniest person in Grand Rapids, also touched on the subject.

“When I look at the crowd here tonight, one word comes to mind, diversity. I have never seen such an assortment of white people before,” he said.

His sarcasm rang true, as African Americans only make up 7 percent of the student population with 1,654 students who identify with this ethnic background.

Morton also joked about the student loans he is now in the process of paying off, saying, “I always thought the name ‘Grand Valley’ was a little bit misleading, because according to my last loan statement, it was 50 ‘Grand’ Valley.”

For the 2013-2014 academic year, the lower division tuition rate is $10,454 per year. The upper division rate, for students who have earned 55 or more credits, is $10,978. This means that a student who graduates in four years has payed about $43,000 for a college education.

Morton wasn’t the only one to joke about this.

“A lot of people think that we’re called the Lakers because we’re close to Lake Michigan,” said AJ Rank, a GVSU student and comedian. “That’s not the reason why. The reason we’re called the Lakers is because we’re drowning in tuition rates.”

The intent of the event was not just to bash the university, though, and the comedians were happy to be able to help raise money for charity.

“In all seriousness, it was an honor to be asked to be here and do this,” Rank said. “I love this school and couldn’t ask for a better place to get my education. I want to thank everyone who was involved and T. Haas for being here and being a good sport.”

The event was sponsored by 48West, Spotlight Productions and GVSU’s hospitality and tourism management program.



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