Laker Traditions to host annual ExtravaGRANDza

By Tylee Bush | 4/16/17 9:48pm


GVL / Courtesy - ExtravaGRANDza 2015

by / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The annual Laker Traditions ExtravaGRANDza will be happening on campus starting Monday, April 17, with activities and events running through Friday, April 21. This Grand Valley State University tradition was established to cultivate the Laker family spirit and promote the identity of Lakers for a lifetime.

Isabella River and Greg Ziegenfelder, members of the Laker Traditions team and co-coordinators of the ExtravaGRANDza, said the Laker Traditions team hosts ten events every year, ExtravaGRANDza being the final one.

Laker Traditions Team

GVL / Courtesy - Sean O'Melia Members of the Laker Traditions Team

The week will kick off with a magic show featuring Daniel Martin Monday, April 17, at 8 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center. Then, The Grand Escape event will be held Tuesday, April 18, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Lounge. This event will include massages, music, crafts, coloring and snacks.

“It is a great stress reliever before exams,” Ziegenfelder said.

The LakerFest event Friday, April 21, will feature inflatables, food, lawn games, a balloon artist and a live disc jockey. This event will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Kirkhof Lawn.

There will also be a “ThinkFast” game show Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m. in the Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center Multipurpose Room with gift cards and ice cream. At 9 p.m., there will be an outdoor movie showing of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the Zumberge Pond.

Additionally, there are several events throughout the ExtravaGRANDza week that are dedicated to graduating seniors. A series of Grad Fest events will run from Monday, April 17, to Thursday, April 20, at various locations.

These Grad Fest events are exclusively for graduating seniors and are sponsored by GVSU Alumni Relations. Courtney Geurink, assistant director of Alumni Relations, said these events are a “one-stop-shop for graduation needs.”

“We invite graduating students to join the celebration while they pick up their cap and gown, visit all of the exhibitors, enjoy a slice of cake and pick up a graduation gift from the Alumni Association,” Geurink said.

Graduating seniors who attend the Grad Fest event will also have the opportunity to enter giveaways, talk about their career options with the Career Center, ask financial aid questions, learn about furthering their education with graduate school staff, order tickets for the commencement service, get a professional photo taken and more.

Two more opportunities available to graduating seniors are the “Toast With T. Haas” Wednesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in the DeVos Center and the “Pancakes With the President” breakfast Thursday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Alumni House. Both of these events require an RSVP.

“‘Toast With T. Haas’ is a celebration of the journey taken as students and as a Laker for a lifetime, escorting the graduating class into a new relationship with Grand Valley State University as alumni,” said Megan Ellinger, manager of student philanthropy initiatives at GVSU and coordinator of the Laker for a Lifetime initiative. “It is an opportunity for graduating seniors to celebrate with their friends, get one last selfie with President Haas and to begin the transition from members of the Future Alumni Association to the Alumni Association.”

To RSVP for the “Toast With T. Haas,” seniors should visit

“Pancakes With the President,” another Laker tradition dedicated to graduating seniors, is a time to sit down with cohorts and President Thomas Haas for a complimentary breakfast. To RSVP for this event, seniors must respond to an email prompt that was sent to their student emails.

The week-long festivities are projected to have a high attendance and will offer students a break from finals preparation.

“The best part about the event is being able to take a break from the craziness of exams for a couple hours and enjoy a bunch of free food and games,” River said. “What college students don’t enjoy free things?”

Ellinger said the event would be a good opportunity for students to think about their time at GVSU and look to their futures.

“Overall, the best part of ExtravaGRANDza is the opportunity to reflect back on your time at Grand Valley as well as to look forward to the future,” Ellinger said. “It’s a great time to celebrate with friends as a Laker for a lifetime.”

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