International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) book display at GRCC Library & Learning Commons

In support of Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated on March 31 every year , the GRCC Library has a display that will be up for approximately three weeks.

The display provides information about the richness and diverseness of our transgender community, and is a means of highlighting and celebrating trans people and their contributions.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, provides the following links to resources designed to provide information and help us create and maintain a more trans-inclusive environment. 

You can find more information about these resources and others on their website at

So to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility, educate yourself by checking out these links and/or stop in the library to check out some of the resources we have in support of the Transgender community. 

Learn From the Best: Doug Wiersma shares his real world experiences with electrical students

Doug Wiersma in a blue GRCC polo, smiling.

Doug Wiersma went to college after high school and quickly decided it was not the right place for him. But now, he spends his days at Grand Rapids Community College teaching students as they start down their own educational journeys, helping them gain in-demand skills. 

Wiersma left college to work as an electrical apprentice. He worked his way through the electrical trade from a Journeyman’s to a Master’s License. Eventually he became an estimator and project manager specializing in electrical design-build projects. 

Wiersma began teaching at GRCC as an adjunct professor in 1999. He never intended to work in higher education full time. However, colleague George Waite encouraged Wiersma to start a Construction Electrical Job Training program at GRCC. 

Wiersma was won over, and soon discovered how much he enjoyed working with students and helping them reach their career goals. He teaches them through hands-on demonstrations and projects.

Job Training programs are unique due to the amount of time instructors and students spend together. Wiersma spends eight-hour days, four days a week with his students, providing an opportunity for students to experience “life in their trade” first hand. 

Some of Wiersma’s most memorable moments as an instructor involve watching students discover their passions and grow through the electrical trade. 

Wiersma recalls one specific student who came into Job Training frustrated and lost. The student was married, had some life experience, and was looking for an opportunity to change the direction his life was going. Upon graduating he was offered an apprenticeship with a major company. 

Wiersma ran into this student over five years later while sitting at the Gerald R. Ford Airport. He heard someone call his name, and when he turned around the student was there with his wife, two daughters, and a new Disney t-shirt. The family was returning from a vacation in Orlando.

“I barely recognized him,” Wiersma said, “His whole face had changed from despondent and lifeless, to cheerful and confident. He went on to introduce me to his family and talk about how much he enjoyed his career as a Journeyman and project manager.”

Moments like this encourage Wiersma to continue to invest in the students in the Job Training program. Many students coming into the program are unsure what direction their career will take. Wiersma encourages students to work hard and make sure they enjoy what they are doing. 

Current student Ben Mast said, “I feel like most of the students don’t have any experience when they started. I’m super grateful to have Doug as my instructor. He is super knowledgeable. He’s got an answer for everything and he also makes it super fun!”

GRCC baseball and softball teams drop openers to Mid Michigan College, but storm back to take nightcaps

GRCC softball team fist-bumping each other.

The Grand Rapids Community College baseball and softball teams bounced back from game one losses to Mid Michigan College by combining to score 33 runs in victories of second games of doubleheaders on Thursday.

The softball team’s opener was a pitcher’s duel, with both aces combining for 24 strikeouts. GRCC lost 5-1, with just one of those runs being earned. Pitcher Izzy Regner took the tough loss.

Mid Michigan built a 9-3 lead after three innings in the nightcap, but GRCC exploded for nine runs on 11 hits in the top of the fourth inning.  That inning included a three-run blast by Lauren James, her second home run of the season.

GRCC tacked on eight more runs in the sixth inning enroute to a 20-10 victory.

All nine GRCC players had at least one hit, with Jaye Guichelaar, James, Brittany Cisler, and Maci Huver all with three hits.  Huver and James each had four runs batted in.  Vanessa Hewitt hit her first collegiate homer and drove in three runs.

The baseball team mustered just three hits and dropped a 3-2 decision in the first game, with Jared Berkenpas getting the loss. But the team bounced back to win the nightcap 13-7.

GRCC totaled 14 hits from eight players. Luke Huerta and Trevin Laming each had three hits and Aaron Bess led the team with four RBI.

Connor Foley picked up the victory, his third win of the season, pitching five innings and striking out eight batters.

Both teams are scheduled to resume play Friday at 1 p.m. and finish the series out on Sunday.  

This story was reported by Ben Brown.

Clothing drive and Free Clothes Shop

Have you started your spring cleaning yet? Using time to declutter your space can be beneficial for your mental health, but it can also support the community!

Taking on the charge from previous honor students Missy Gheorghiu and Kim Budde who hosted the Clothing Swap in the Fall 2022 semester, Student Life is partnering with StandOUT and a current Honors Capstone students to host this event again.

We want to welcome all faculty, staff, and students to bring in their gently used and cleaned clothes of all sizes to the Student Life office next week starting Monday April 3, 2023. We will also be accepting donations of new undergarments such as bras and underwear.

This is an event we are excited to host. Our students believe events like this play an important role in reducing textile waste while supporting a basic need that many community members have a difficult time accessing. 

To add to the excitement, our office will be having a soft launch to a clothing closet that will be available for students year round. Please keep your eyes peeled for more details as they come!


May be dropped off Monday, April 3 to Wednesday, April 5 from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Student Life Office.

The Free Clothes Shop (Formerly Free Clothing Swap):

Thursday, April 6 from 10 AM to 5 PM and Friday, April 7 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

The event is free for students and a clothing donation is not required to “shop”.  Snacks will be provided.

Please share this opportunity with your students!

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, feel free to reach out to me at

Thank you for your support!

Rebecca Lubbers

International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) March 31

The world observes Transgender Day of Visibility each March 31 to raise awareness about transgender people.

“Trans Day of Visibility is a day specifically to celebrate trans people’s lives and joys, not as struggles, but as triumphs as something to be happy about, to be proud of, to stand up and say that we are here, we are happy, we’re part of our community and our lives are important. That our lives are worthy and we should be celebrated,” said Olivia Hunt of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Fundamentals Team, CAP 3.4, is dedicated to support GRCC’s greater commitment to equity and GRCC’s values of diversity, innovation, respect, and responsiveness by providing resources that highlight and celebrate trans people and their contributions.

The team encourages trans people to be visible by displaying a Pride flag or wearing a pin, sticker or t-shirt.

In support of this day, the GRCC Library will put up a display that provides information about the richness and diverseness of our transgender community. The display will be up for approximately three weeks.

The CAP also wants to highlight community advocates and partners: Grand Rapids Pride Center, StandOut, United Campus Christian Fellowship, and Grand Rapids Trans Foundation.