GV responds to Presidents Ball cancellation with charitable giving

By James Kilborn | 2/11/19 2:23am

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GVL / Emily Frye President Haas and wife Marcia celebrate 10 years of T. Haas during the President's Ball on Friday Feb. 5, 2016.

Although Grand Valley State University President’s Ball dance was cancelled, the university ensured the food prepared for the event didn’t go to waste. Over 500 hot meals were distributed to the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools in Wyoming and the David Hunting YMCA branch near the downtown Pew campus. 

Melissa Baker-Boosamra, Associate Director of Student Life, stated that once the event was cancelled, the university reached out to these organizations offering the unused meals. 

“The GVSU Office of Student Life staff reached out to community partners,” Baker-Boosamra said. “We have relationships with many organizations throughout the community, so our network was quick to respond.” 

The event was cancelled due to the coldest temperatures in over a decade spreading across the region, as consistent lake-effect snow coupled with bone-chilling temperatures resulted in the closure of schools, churches and universities in west Michigan. The record cold prompted Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency, and GVSU facilities were closed for an unprecedented five consecutive days. 

Although disappointing to those planning on attending the dance, the distribution of hot meals ensured that many within the region stayed warm and fed during the arctic blast. 

Baker-Boosamra stated that once the event was officially cancelled, the Office of Student Life quickly rose to the occasion, picking the meals up and transporting them to their destinations. 

“Given the very quick response time needed to get the prepared food out to community partners, we quickly mobilized to meet the need,” Baker-Boosamra said. “The Office of Student Life staff were primarily responsible for the transportation of food.”

Although the event would have marked the final President’s Ball with GVSU President Thomas Haas, the Office of Student Life ensured that its cancellation wasn’t a total loss, as their quick actions in distributing food items to organizations ensured that many within the community would benefit. 

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