Editor’s Note: The Collegiate interviewed several faculty and staff members from different programs, as well as a few students, during the Holland Lakeshore Campus open house to see what is offered at the campus and how students can get involved.
By Jessika Perez
Grand Rapids Community College hosted its second open house at the Holland Lakeshore Campus on Oct. 23.
Prospective students were invited to tour the campus, get help with admissions and registration, and visit booths representing several GRCC departments.
Upon entrance, guests were warmly greeted by GRCC staff and directed toward a table topped with yellow GRCC goodie bags – of which some contained golden tickets. The lucky students with golden tickets were able to pick an item from the prize table such as a t-shirt.
“I just think it’s so great because we have untapped students out here,” said Kate Christian, a psychology professor for GRCC.
The open house was directed at potential GRCC students, like Jaden Long, 18, from Holland.
“I’m a little nervous, but it’s college so I guess it’s normal,” Long said, who plans on studying behavioral sciences.
The Lakeshore campus allows course completion entirely on the Lakeshore campus with programs such as a Pre-Psychology, A.A, meaning some students never need to drive to Grand Rapids. Some programs still require attendance to the main campus.
“I didn’t know that so that’s pretty cool,” Long added.
“I was able to register, fill out (the) FAFSA, and talk to some of the programs about what I was gonna need for coursework,” said Cheyenne Hunter, a recent Grand Rapids transplant from Holland. Hunter and her husband plan on starting classes in the Winter semester. “The Reconnect program is actually what got me interested in going back to school without having to go through all the process of student loans and going into a bunch of debt.”
GRCC is a part of the Michigan Reconnect program that offers Michigan residents ages 25 and up free in-district college tuition.
The Lakeshore Campus offers several certificates and associate’s degrees in industrial maintenance and machinery, business programs, information technology and more.
“Our job-training programs include construction, electrical, residential construction, automotive, and computer information so we’re kind of representing all of that today,” said Nate Haney, an assistant professor for the Job Training program.
Director of Experiential Learning Michael Schavey noted the campus offers programs that give students an opportunity to engage in hands-on experience that will open the door to experiencing college on a different level.
“We offer three programs that attempt to get students some hands-on experience and kind of go above and beyond your traditional experience at college,” Schavey said.
GRCC students have the opportunity to do international travel through study away, engage within their community through academic service learning, and students may join the honors program.
“This coming summer, we’re hoping to get a couple trips off the ground,” Schavey said. “Next summer (2022) you can participate in a trip to Spain, Costa Rica, Morocco, Malta and parts of Austria and Germany. So students can start saving up their money; they can use financial aid if they’re eligible.”
A rough estimate is $4,000 for travel expenses.
“Our study away experience is kind of like study away 101 – they’re broad,” he continued. “So you dabble a little bit in history and art, culture and language of the destinations that you plan to travel. You could be of any degree or interest and still participate in those experiences.”
“This is for the business department so we have associate degrees,” said Ann Alexander, a business instructor for the college. “We also have certificate programs and we also have transfer programs for folks wanting to get bachelor’s degrees.”
“I think there’s a good population of students out in this area that would greatly benefit from being here,” said Robin Selmon, another business department instructor.
“This is great that we’re seeing students who are still in high school who are planning ahead and considering what they want to do,” Alexander said.
Department Head of Criminal Justice Gary Ebels noted the Lakeshore Campus offers just two courses for the program.
“We actually have two criminal justice classes that are running out here: Criminology and an Introduction to Criminal Justice,” Ebels said. “So I wanted to come out and see what we’re doing.”
“It’s my first time to come out to this new facility; it’s beautiful,” he continued. “We always do good stuff when we remodel… so it’s pretty exciting.”
Like the main campus in downtown Grand Rapids, the Lakeshore Campus has a cadaver lab.
“They’re very popular, especially with the local medical community too; they come and use our (GRCC’s) lab. We can use it for our classrooms but we can also use it for training of the local medical people around.”
“If you wanted to look at controls or robotics or electronics you would be interested in this pathway,” said Assistant Professor of Applied Technology Thomas Street. “Students who do this (program) would either work in the manufacturing setting or the product design setting and our program feeds very well into Ferris and (some) students go to Michigan Tech or Western.”
Though only in its first semester since the grand opening, the Lakeshore Campus’ applied technology classes are at full capacity.
“Lots of new things (are) coming in,” Street said. “We have four new robots in our lab and we’re getting probably two more. We’ll probably put a couple out here as well.”
“We’ve had a really tremendous showing today,” said Director of Admissions and Enrollment Services Lori Cook. “For a rainy morning.
“There’s an admissions office that’s always here so students can come and apply outside of an event,” she continued. “If you haven’t been out here to see it yet (Lakeshore Campus) you should come check it out.”
Other booths that were in attendance included Dana Sammons, Department Chair of Mathematics, who assisted potential students with their ALEKs placement score, GRCC’s theater department and a student success booth.
GRCC’s next open house will be Saturday, Nov. 13 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the GRCC Ford Fieldhouse.