GVSU to host annual Laker Kickoff Party to welcome new students

By Sidney Selvig | 8/20/17 10:43pm

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GVL / Emily Frye The class of 2019 enjoying a night of dancing at the kick-off party on the Wednesday evening. The event included free pizza and a dj for a night full of fun after the transitions events.


The Laker Traditions team will host its annual Laker Kickoff Party Friday, Aug. 25, from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Parking Lot A on the Allendale Campus to welcome Lakers, particularly incoming freshmen, to Grand Valley State University.  Although this event is associated with freshmen because they make up the majority of the attendees, everyone is welcome to join the celebration of a new journey at GVSU.

According to one of the coordinators for this tradition, GVSU student Sarah Ansbro, GVSU likes to start off the year right with pizza, games and dancing before the stress of finals and midterms hits. The Laker Kickoff Party encourages students to interact with new people and be a part of the Laker family.

“The Laker Kickoff Party is an essential part of the traditions lineup,” Ansbro said. “The party helps to set a positive, open attitude for the entire semester, and it brings our family of Lakers closer together. If we act as a unified body, nothing can stop us.”

With the disadvantages of summer planning, as there are no students on campus yet, advertising for this event is a unique challenge. Yet, Sarah Ansbro and the Laker Traditions team, as well as student senate member Kevin Chui, work with GVSU faculty and other coordinators to make sure the Laker Kickoff Party, and other events planned in the summer, comes together to form a great first taste of student life at GVSU.

“For most incoming students, it's their first time being away from home for extended periods of time, and feeling homesick is normal,” Chui said. “So, planning this event has been fun, and it allows all of us to use our creative sides to give these students a true Laker experience.”

After the new student orientation and ice-breaking transition in the Fieldhouse Arena, the newcomers will join previous students to enjoy a live DJ, a performance from the Pompon Team, pizza, games, giveaways from GVSU and giveaways from some of the sponsors and apartment complexes surrounding campus.

“The most significant part of this event to me is the music," Ansbro said. "I believe music has the power to bring people together and allow them to de-stress. Plus, who doesn’t love to dance?”

Over the course of the year, 10 traditions events are put on for students to attend. Each event, from the Laker Kickoff Party to the ExtravaGRANDza, which takes place at the end of the winter semester close to exam time, is coordinated by the Laker Traditions team, comprised of spirited GVSU students.

“My favorite part of being involved in the planning of this event has been expanding my social circle,” Ansbro said. “I have had the absolute privilege of meeting and working with so many new people, people I never would have met otherwise.” 

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