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Photo courtesy of GRCC Chess Club social media.

By Mia Kerner

Getting involved with Grand Rapids Community College’s clubs and student organizations can be great opportunities for students to connect and enrich their college experience. 

Despite the decrease in student organization involvement during the pandemic, in-person classes are back in session and students are returning to campus, signaling the perfect time for a GRCC club resurgence. 

“For about a year we were down to a small handful of active student organizations,” said Assistant Director of Student Life and Conduct Ashley Fox. “They largely met to maintain a social life and check in with each other in a virtual capacity. Because we were unable to be on campus and successfully meet, dream up ideas and host programming or travel as groups, it was hard to promote these engagements and make their ideas come to fruition.”

Fox said GRCC clubs and organizations are ramping back up. 

“Most of our student clubs and organizations are in a renewal phase so looking for new student leaders and members to make things happen since previous leaders have since transferred or moved on to the next chapter in their lives,” Fox said.

As this “renewal phase” continues to evolve, students can look forward to the return of  the Black Africana Student Union (BASU), Chess Club, Raider Nation Gaming, Young Democratic Socialists of America, PTK Honors Society and the International Language Club.

GRCC’s clubs and student organizations provide ways to connect with peers, but also hold great significance among the Grand Rapids community.

Student Alliance Director of External Affairs Shantasia King spoke on the impact of Grand Rapids’ political climate on GRCC’s student organizations. 

“The political climate is actually what sparked a domino effect of campus involvement,” King said. “Following the recent police shooting that resulted in the death of Patrick Lyoya, the Black Africana Student Union hosted the Lt. Governor and was invited to speak with Gov. Whitmore to discuss ways to better connect with the community.” 

“Following these impactful conversations, the college has since collaborated and brought in leaders from the community ranging from NAACP members, to chiefs of police departments. Such conversations have opened doors for every org(anization) on campus to voice their opinions and bring the community of campus to life,” King continued.

While connecting the Grand Rapids community and providing a platform for students to bring about real change, student organizations at GRCC are also providing valuable lifelong insight.

“Your educational experience is a dress rehearsal for the life that a person wants to live,” King said. “The opportunities presented at the college extend beyond campus and will reflect in your life far after you leave GRCC.”

Student organizations and clubs are completely optional, but offer a form of community and insight that cannot be found elsewhere. 

King encouraged students to “find your tribe,” stating that, “Campus is full of individuals that want to see you succeed, so find your group that aligns with your goals and interests and thrive together. Encourage each other to reach high. We won’t always be surrounded by an institution that is here to support us and foot the bill, so make the most out of it and do it with no regrets.”

To join a student organization or start a new club from scratch, students can visit Raider Connect or stop by the Student Life office on campus. After finding at least four other students with the same interest in being a part of that community, the club has the opportunity to be approved, leading to the possibility of event hosting, funding, and general advancement.

Becoming a member of student-organized communities can provide students with not only memorable experiences, but a home on campus.

For more information about GRCC clubs and organizations, click here


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