Originally published May 5, 2013
Co-written with editorial board
In the most recent Board of Trustees meeting held at Grand Valley State University, the board authorized a partnership with four more statewide charter schools bringing the total number of authorized schools to 51.
The four charter schools, one in Grand Rapids called the Covenant House Academy Grand Rapids and three in Detroit known as the Covenant House Academy Detroit, are aimed to make a difference for students who, according to Covenant House Executive Sam Joseph, have been failed by someone in their lives. The goal is to give these students—specifically those who either are or were homeless or have been former high school drop outs—something that won’t fail them, and essentially gives them a much needed second chance.
As a university, one of GVSU’s strong points has been its ability to make a difference in the Allendale community as well as across the state of Michigan. Its social commitment has not been a passive or fleeting initiative, and this effort to support charter schools is not its first attempt at getting involved with the local youth.
It also hosts the TRiO Upward Bound program, which supports talented yet underprivileged students excel to have a stronger chance of attending college.
“We have a unique responsibility here at Grand Valley State University with GRPS,” Haas said. “There is no doubt about that. We collaborate in many, many ways because it impacts our neighborhood.”
Making an impact in the lives of GVSU students is something expected of a university, but making a difference in the lives of youth who are yet to attend the university — and might not ever choose to contribute to the success of GVSU — is something altogether different.
The univeristy has shown dedication not only to its host community’s youth education, but also to local businesses as it hosts the headquarters for the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.
While we at the Lanthorn find it commendable that GVSU invests in the community that it has no natural or immediate obligation to serve, we also feel that the university has a sort of duty to help its neighbors flourish.
Like the saying goes, those who have the ability to act, have the responsibility to act. And GVSU certainly has the ability.
With resources not afforded to many—even if GVSU’s resources aren’t as impressive as those of other state schools—the Allendale-based university must make a commitment to community service.
This dedication will not produce one-sided results, either.
GVSU will certainly taste the fruit of its labor as Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal affirmed in a GRNow article.
“Many of these (charter school) students are going to age out of Grand Rapids schools or may have already dropped out,” Neal said. “We need them to be productive members of society.”
Productive members of society in turn produce a productive state with more opportunities for graduates and a stronger collegiate community.
You know, what goes around comes around.
So let’s keep going around, GVSU. Let’s invest in the community that supports us, and keep making a difference.
Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2013/06/like-a-good-neighbor