Chicken Market as Change Agent?

Transformation can occur anywhere, and for GVSU students, it’s often in a community setting.

One young man’s life changed at an open-air chicken market in Jordon. He realized there were huge inequities in the world, and he could do something about them. He is now working on international issues related to poverty and education.

Another was transformed forever when a migrant worker invited him into his house for a meal and thanked him for tutoring his children in the fields. “I admire you,” the father told him. “Something you will realize in the future is that you have been a very positive influence with my kids.” Honored by this personal act of warmth and generosity, the student discovered that he had something to offer that was of value to others. With newfound self-confidence, he went on to work in a hospital in Costa Rica.

Sometimes, students discover what they DON’T want to do, such as NEVER working on a political campaign again or NOT teaching in an elementary school.

GVSU’s core mission is to prepare students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. One way we do this is to encourage students to follow the Four Year Blueprint for Student Success and its partner document, The Do-Something Guide.

The Blueprint demonstrates in no uncertain terms how much the university already values community engagement—in fact, the plan has an entire section for each undergraduate year devoted to engagement. Some items in this category involve the community, some items are devoted to campus involvement, but the point is clear: an undergraduate experience encompassed by dorm time and classroom time just isn’t enough. Personal transformation calls for bigger and broader experiences, messy situations, and opportunities to make mistakes that matter.

We have the blueprint; let’s follow it.

Follow up: Read the Four Year Blueprint for Student Success and the Do-Something Guide. You can always find links to these resources and more at



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