Innovation 101: Four reasons GVSU should welcome wild wolves to Allendale Campus

By Pete Barrows | 4/1/15 7:40pm

GVL/Kevin Sielaff The completed James H. Zumberg Hall stands across the pond from the Kirkoff Center, and will serve as a hub for professors and students alike. The hall is currently open and will be employed starting Fall of 2014.
by GVL/Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

Grand Valley State University has undergone a variety of change and growth over the last few years, a great deal of which has been dictated by student initiative. Gender neutral and Greek life housing sites have been developed, corporations (Adidas) and governors (Snyder) and donor naming rights have been protested, pendulums have been ridden and our school has blossomed as a beacon of higher learning in the Midwest.

But now is not the time to rest on laurels, to succumb to complacency or seal the envelope. Now is the time to stick out a proverbial tongue, Miley Cyrus style, and continue to improve upon a rising stock.

Now is the time to introduce multiple packs of wolves onto GVSU’s Allendale Campus.

You might be asking yourself why in the world someone would want that, or perhaps why the Lanthorn allows a rambling hermit with a screw or three lose to write a weekly column. But think about it.

When allocating straight cash money toward frivolous projects like a new state of the art library, a fresh out of the box science building, a renovated Fieldhouse and housing developments, the real question is why the powers at be wouldn't invest in a program with the potential to be truly transformative? Before you have me committed, allow me to defend my terms.

Reason No. 1: No more Department of Public Safety

DPS is allotted a sizable allowance in the annual budget, and it makes sense. You try corralling an unruly herd of hotheaded, snot-nosed and possibly, but most likely not, intoxicated students without a Segway scooter.

With wolves roaming around campus, public safety will no longer be an issue.

Predators out lurking after dark, beware; these wolves are well aware of their place on the food chain and will be all to happy to remind you of yours. Not to mention alcohol, drug and bath-salt use will drop almost completely off the charts. No student will want to leave their apartment, sober or otherwise, with rabid wolves running around campus.

Tuition will also decrease with the newly freed budget money that used to go to DPS. We’ll all miss the regimented enforcement of parking regulations and the late night speed traps, but a safer, more cost effective campus is a selling point for prospective students and parents alike too good to pass up. Higher enrollment means more collective dough from students, plus increased endowments from the state, and the cash cycle will keep spinning like a dilapidated Laker Village washing machine.

Reason No. 2: The average GPA will skyrocket

Not only will students be privy to a live demonstration of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” outside of the classroom, the average student’s awareness of their surroundings, as well as their survival skills, will improve exponentially. Talk about gaining valuable life skills.

With the introduction of wolves, there will also be a "low­-man­-out" grade incentive policy instituted. Upon completion of every class, students will be dismissed by order of lowest GPA to highest. If there is a better way to motivate students to study hard and pay attention in class than to literally throw them to the wolves, I simply can’t fathom it. If you “accidentally” lose a few slackers along the way, well there is such a thing as addition by subtraction; remember when Diane Chambers finally got written off Cheers?

Reason No. 3: GVSU will boast the quintessential hospitality and tourism management program in the country

GVSU can (and should) open up its campus for tours, similar to the ones pictured in the nonfiction classic "Jurassic Park." Use all of the budget cut/increased admissions/added government revenue generated by the wolves as a down payment on a guided Jeep tour track and boardwalk viewing platform, charge $10 a pop for a ticket and boom, tuition is thousands of dollars less. The wolves pay for themselves.

As an added benefit, students will be provided with invaluable real-life, hands-on job experience running the attraction and accompanying Good Wolf Lodge resort designed for visiting parents and tourists.

Reason No. 4: GVSU Athletics will peak across the board

With students left running for their lives in between classes, sports that emphasize speed, agility, coordination, endurance and instinct (so yes – all of them) will reap tremendous gains. No longer will the Laker athletic program be forced to vie with larger, more well-established athletic powers while recruiting externally. Instead, GVSU will have the unique capability to draw from an enhanced pool of potential recruits, while scouting every day right on campus.


Coach No. 1: Did you see that kid with the backpack hurdle that shrub?

Coach No. 2: Dibs. That had to be at least a 40-inch vertical. Damn that wolf looked hungry!

Coach No. 1: Fine, but I call that girl that just sprinted the length of Robinson field in 10-seconds flat.

Louie the Laker, hardened by rigorous treks across a campus affectionately known as the "Wolf Den," will become the most feared mascot in the NCAA. Sorry, Sparty. Scholarships will be merit based and always up for grabs. And with the most athletic and competitive student base in the country, GVSU might finally have all the reasons and resources necessary to become a Division 1 powerhouse "by choice."

If within five years tops of passing this proposal GVSU is not the premier institution of higher learning in the continental U.S., it’ll be because some bold school beat us to the punch. The time to act is now.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or wish to pledge your support, please feel free to email us at

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