Our esteemed President Haas describes GVSU as “the community’s university.” Personally, I love this statement—it rings true to our entrepreneurial, community-initiated roots and is solidly supported with stories from individual faculty, staff, and students alike who believe we are called to be partners with our communities, whether they be in Grand Rapids or Ghana.
But I’m also curious: What does this phrase mean to us? What are our underlying assumptions and values? What does this work—being the community’s university—look like as we live it out? How do we embrace our community differently than other universities who have may taken up residence here but do not claim West Michigan as home? What structures recognize, encourage, and reward our efforts to do this work? What impedes our efforts? As a collective body, how will we make a difference in response to the opportunities, challenges, and needs of our communities?
The Office for Community Engagement is gathering perspectives on these questions, including big ideas about the possibilities for our future as an engaged university—the community’s university. If you haven’t yet weighed in, give us a call and let us know what you think.