| 5/3/14 5:15pm

For many students, the coming of summer means relaxation, vacationing and traveling. While others are stuck taking summer classes or booked with an internship or another job, a short day trip or fun activity can be planned.

Though everyone wants to have a good time wherever they go, it is also important to present yourself well and represent Grand Valley State University well, particularly when wearing your GVSU hoodies, hats and other gear.

Notable examples are easy to find. Take GVSU student Colin Kammeraad. He is spending 10 weeks of his summer biking across the United States to raise money for Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that works to raise funds for affordable housing groups throughout the U.S. to finance building projects.

While you certainly don’t have to dedicate your summer to a nonprofit cause, remember that wherever you go, whether you wear the GVSU letters or not, you are the face of this university. You represent this college to everyone you meet, no matter where you are in the world. College students are especially known for being obnoxious and rowdy when traveling. It’s time to get rid of that stereotype.

Students need to remember that in everything that you do, you represent yourself and your university. Especially when wearing GVSU gear, if people see you acting in an inappropriate or insensitive manner and disturbing the enjoyment of those around you, they will look down on GVSU students as a whole and the university’s reputation will decline.

The summer also brings many study abroad trips. When traveling abroad, not only do you represent yourself and your university, but also your country as a whole. Just like college students, Americans are known for being rude and culturally unaware when abroad. Being an American college student abroad is a double hit of a negative stereotype, so let’s begin to change that stereotype right here at GVSU.

It’s important to take note of differences in cultural norms and act accordingly. Instead of thinking that your way of doing things is the “correct” way and how other countries go about their day to day life is abnormal, think of it from a perspective outside your own.

Additionally, be patient and understanding. Language barriers are challenging, but being kind and pleasant is universally understood.

GVSU stresses finding lasting and important experiences for its students, so make GVSU proud and be good representatives of this university while adventuring this summer, either domestically or overseas.

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