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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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'50 for 50'

Community Outreach Week gears up for third year of service


In light of a challenge given by President Thomas J. Haas, this year’s Community Outreach Week theme is “50 for 50” – 50 volunteer events to celebrate Grand Valley State University’s 50th anniversary.

In its third year, Community Outreach Week originally stemmed from an alumni desire to build a stronger community through service activities.

“We realized the students at GVSU had already been doing something similar and it would make sense if we could bring all of the GV community together – students, alumni and employees,” said Asa Lakeman, chairperson of the community outreach committee.

Lakeman said the idea is to have a local project for every day of the week while also coordinating with alumni outside of West Michigan to set up events so it “truly becomes a global phenomenon.”

Community Outreach Week will run from March 21 to March 26.

Between 2009 and 2010, Lakeman said Community Outreach Week saw a significant climb in participation, with about 150 volunteers in 2010. He expects that this year numbers will continue to grow.

“Our main goal is to get to 50 events,” Lakeman said. “When we make that number, I’m sure it will turn out that we had more volunteers than in previous years.”

Joshua Lee, graduate assistant with the Community Service Learning Center’s Service Initiative, said he thinks Community Outreach Week is a good way to connect students to the West Michigan community.

“Community Outreach Week is not only about serving, though,” Lee said. “It is also important to understand the impact of nonprofit agencies and how volunteers play a vital role in sustaining the viability of West Michigan.”

In addition to nonprofit groups tabling in Kirkhof during Community Outreach Week, Lee and the rest of the Community Outreach Week team will bring in a speaker from the Heart of West Michigan United Way on March 23 at 7:15 p.m. in the Pere Marquette room to talk about nonprofit agencies in the West Michigan area and discuss what that means for the fiscally exhausted state.

Students who wish to coordinate a project for Community Outreach Week should submit the project via e-mail to joshua_lee@gvsu.edu.

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