Photos: Eat, drink, and celebrate experiential learning.

Celebrate integrated innovative teaching and learning practices that make meaningful contributions to our community through service learning!   The Armen Awards presentation will feature interviews and powerful video of the work of each team, a (huge) check presentation – plus delicious snacks before the show starts.

The details:
Friday, April 25th from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University Woodbridge N. Ferris Building located at 17 Pearl St. NW, Room 217. Please RSVP at

Check out this album from last year’s event.

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Physical Sciences Faculty, Staff and Students Participate in National Chemistry Week Activities

The annual Chemistry in the Mall activity was held on Saturday, October 12th in Muskegon.  The event is sponsored by the West Michigan division of the American Chemical Society (WMACS).  The Physical Sciences Department hosted two activity tables that included making slime and silly putty, doing magic-marker chromatography and assembling fruit batteries.  Thirty GRCC students, who are enrolled in courses taught by Linda Bramble, Tom Neils and Bernard Liburd, showed off their knowledge of chemistry to hundreds of children and adults in the community and many earned Academic Service Learning credit.  Adjunct faculty members Jim Krikke and Duane VandenBrink and former GRCC student Kat Wirth demonstrated how much fun chemistry can be by putting on Chemistry Shows on the event main stage.  Bernard Liburd and Jennifer Batten coordinated the Physical Sciences Department role in the event. Thank you to Pam Scott and Leah VanHartesveldt for all of their help in readying the supplies and materials for the tables.

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Armen Awards Celebration: Why you should be there!

Join your colleagues to experience innovative teaching and learning practices that have made meaningful contributions to our community this winter.

Come for the awards (Three winners to be named)
This program and awards presentation will feature interviews and powerful video of the work of each team, and a (huge) check presentation.

Come for the food (The Menu)
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Domestic Cheese, Fruit with Almond Dip & Vegetables with Dip.
Coffee, Iced Tea & Lemonade.

Come to celebrate the work (Our Finalists)

  • The Child Psychology course with Family Promise providing child-care services to homeless families seeking respite or time to seek employment.
  • The Community Transcultural Nursing course with American Red Cross teaching GRCC students the life-changing skill of CPR.
  • The Community Dental Health course with Salvation Army-Booth Family Services providing oral hygiene education to pregnant teens and teen mothers.
  • The College Writing course with Grand Rapids Public Library administering One Book, One City for Kids in Grand Rapids Public Schools.
  • The Consulting with Writers course with GRCCs Writing Lab training students to serve as tutors.
  • The Community Transcultural Nursing course with the North End Community Ministry educating its food pantry clients on healthy meal planning and recipes.
  • The Principles of Physical Education course with East Leonard Elementary administering Organ Wise Guys helping children develop a healthy lifestyle.
  • The Mobile Device Security and Development course with the Collegiate newspaper creating a mobile app to increase access and readership.

Come to network (Our Judges):

  • Matt Downey, Program Director, Nonprofit Services at Johnson Center of Philanthropy.
  • Chris Wilson, Founder/Executive Director at NonProfit Process Excellence.
  • Katie Daniels, Curriculum Specialist at Grand Rapids Community College.
  • Nicole Notario-Risk, Nonprofit/Foundation Consultant, Owner of Dress My Rescue.
  • Renee Zientek, Executive Director at Michigan Campus Compact.

Come to Learn More (Our Presenters):

  • Armen Oumedian, local Philanthropist and Entrepreneur.
  • Mike Schavey, Associate Director of Experiential Learning.
  • Dr. Jeremy Osborn, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.
  • Dr. Gilda Gely, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs.

Come to see the Federal Building (Event Details):
Friday, April 26, 2013, 3-5 p.m.
Federal Building, Room 217
Kendall College of Art and Design of FSU

Please RSVP at

Academic Service Learning students create Science Club for middle schoolers

Tom Neils and Academic Service Learning students from the Organic Chemistry I lab have been working with several science faculty from Grand Valley State University to create and operate a Science Club at City Middle School as part of STEM community outreach efforts.

The afterschool club meets Wednesday afternoons at the middle school to work on projects based in biology, geology, chemistry and physics. About 30 middle school students participate and have carried out experiments and activities such as “Fruity DNA,” “Lighting Blast” and “CSI Crime Scene Investigations.”

Students, staff, faculty give middle schoolers a day of science

Academic Service Learning students hosted fifth- and sixth-graders from Godwin Heights Middle School for a day of science projects.

You might have heard the noise on the fourth and fifth floors of the Science Building on November 16, 2012, as 300 fifth- and sixth-graders from Godwin Heights Middle School came to work on science projects.

Almost 40 Academic Service Learning students, in classes taught by Linda Bramble, Tom Neils, Leigh Kleinert and Jennifer Batten, helped the middle schoolers with their inquiry-based science projects and took them on tours.  The kids went on a scavenger hunt, looking for items like periodic tables, skeletons, rotovaps and carnivorous plants, and worked on projects called Clearing a Path to the Heart, Protect the Pill, Funny Putty and The Dirty Water Project.

The event was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Physical Science Department and was a collaboration with the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Many GRCC staff and faculty worked together to make the day a success. Leigh Kleinert, Pam Scott, Tom Neils, Anesa Behrem, Leah VanHartesveldt, Jennifer Batten and Linda Bramble welcomed the students and their teachers. They also stocked and restocked supplies, supplied food, recruited ASL students, set up and cleaned up.  Jeff Stone, Holly Hoare, Grant Heidenreich, Pam Laureto and Matt Douglas helped with the tours.

Principles of Physical Education Class Do Service Learning At Campus and Coit Elementary

PE 184- Principles of Physical Education Class Fall 2012  Academic Service Learning Projects with Professor Melanie Schiele Gady: Reinforcing the importance of education.

GRCC students who worked at Coit Elementary were in charge of Recess. Each student had to develop a recess lesson plan and teach the lesson during their assigned recess time.  The GRCC students then headed back in to the classrooms of Mrs. Hamil, Mrs. Herman, and Mrs. Dewy and assisted the elementary students in reading, writing, 1:1 tutoring, and assisting the classroom teacher.  GRCC students were at Coit each Thursday from 12:30 to 2:00. GRCC students that worked at Campus Elementary taught a recess lesson plan each week and then tutored students 1:1 through schools of hope.  They were with the Campus Students each week on Thursdays from 12:30 to 2:00.  Thank you to the Campus students and Mrs. Carter and Principal Colton.

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Record participation at this year’s Make A Difference Day!

Make a Difference Day was held this past Saturday at the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding in Rockford, MI for the third year in a row. The Department of Experiential Learning led nearly 200 participants during this large service event including individuals from the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and Hope Network.  Students loaded buses donated by Dean Transportation and made their way to the Equest Center to clear riding trails, fence and post painting, bailed hay, and other general odd jobs.

A special thank you to the following Departments and Faculty for their student participation.

Biology: Leigh Kleinert

Business: Jennifer Knauf, and Marianne Bockheim

Communication: Marne Johnson and Amy Jacobs

First Year Experience: Dan Anderson and Rosario Sutton

Nursing: Sherry Knoppers, Dawn Zuidgeest-Craft, and Michelle Olszewski

Philosophy: Dan Anderson

Psychology: Mindy Firlan and Kate Byerwalter

Photo’s of this year’s event can be found at

Photos – ePIFanNow Pass it Forward Party

ePIFanNow Pass it Forward Event

This past February more than 220 GRCC students, staff and friends joined together to go out into the community to perform random acts of kindness as part of the second annual ePIFanyNow Pass It Forward party hosted by the GRCC Department of Experiential Learning. The day was full of inspiring stories of kindness and compassion; everything from shoveling a driveway, to giving a compliment, to helping pay for a stranger’s groceries. The idea is simple: we serve others in creative, direct ways and encourage them to do the same for others!

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This Sunday, June 12, another ePIFanyNow Pass It Forward party is planned in East Lansing and the GRCC community is invited to participate. The gathering starts at 3:00 p.m. at Renos East (1310 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI/517-351-RENO(7366) . Participants show up and are given ideas of ways to pass it forward. Then, at 6:00 p.m. everyone gathers back together at Renos East to share their stories.

We race to be first in the check-out line. We rush to work, school, or day care. We race to reach our next destination on the roadways and freeways. In our race and haste to get where we’re going and do what we’re doing, some of us have lost our ability to see outside our personal ‘ball of stress’.
ePIFanyNow founder, Bob Hoffman, brother to the GRCC Department of Experiential Learning Director, Mindy Firlan, says, “ePIFanyNow is not affiliated with any religious or political group whatsoever! All are welcomed to participate and anyone is eligible to benefit. Participants find ways to burst ‘balls of stress’ by touching peoples’ lives no matter how small, simple, or insignificant the act of kindness. We are a not-for-profit, grassroots movement endeavoring to create positive change throughout our community and beyond.”

In a me-first world where time seems to fly, ePIFanyNow provides our community an alternate way to think and behave. A way that we hope will help our world evolve rather than unravel. For more information visit

Civility, Service, and Pass it Forward run in the Family

Our Director of Experiential Learning, Dr. Mindy Firlan congratulates her brother, Bob Hoffman, as he receives the annual “Mid-Michigan Civility Star Award.”

Bob Hoffman Receives Award

This award recognizes a member of our community who demonstrates a dedication to the principles of civility. Shelley Davis Mielock said, “The 2011 recipient is Bob Hoffman of The Wharton Center for Performing Arts and ePIFany NOW. Senator Gretchen Whitmer spoke at the event and recognized Mr. Hoffman with a Special Tribute signed by Governor Snyder, Representative Meadows and herself.” The luncheon was generously sponsored by MSUFCU, The Wharton Center for Performing Arts, LAFCU, Ingham Regional Medical Center and Tri-Star Trust Bank.

The inspiration for this widespread Civility project is Dr. P.M. Forni, the author of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct and The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude. Civility is defined as a code of behavior based on the 3 Rs: Respect, Restraint and Responsibility. As you may recall, Dr. Forni was here on the GRCC campus last semester to engage students, staff, and faculty through the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Bob was chosen as the recipient of this award based on the work of ePIFany NOW, an organization he founded to inspire others to Pass it Forward by engaging in random acts of kindness in the community. Bob was the keynote speaker at GRCC’s Department of Experiential Learning Event, Pass It Forward. Over 220 participants gathered at GRCC to focus on Institutional Learning Outcome, Social Responsibility; go into the community to Pass It Forward; and reflect on the ability of one person to make a meaningful difference. Our next pass It Forward event will be in February of 2012 and Bob has already agreed to attend!

Photos – GRCC Net Zero House is a First in West Michigan

Supporting agencies (Small)

They’ve done it again. GRCC construction trades students have built another home for a Habitat for Humanity of Kent County family. But this one is different! It is Kent County’s first “net-zero” home. “Net-zero” means the home should create or save enough power to create zero utility expenses. You can see the large solar panels on the roof – and the sign out front that lists all the agencies that worked together to make this house happen.

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At Tuesday’s Open House the new homeowner Karen Libette (looking down from loft) was on hand to meet visitors and the building crew, led by GRCC Instructor Duane McIntyre, was there to answer questions. Karen, her five children and her mother, will move in on October 22 after the net-zero house is on the Spring and Fall Parade of Homes to show off its special sustainable qualities.

Notice the difference between the photo of the foundation, taken last February, which looks pretty small and the photo of the 5-bedroom house as it looks today.

Photos – Service Learning Earth Day Clean-up Event


GRCC’s Academic Service Learning Center (ASLC) celebrated Earth Day  last week Friday with a community clean up in downtown Grand Rapids. Students (including local high school students), faculty, staff, community members, and guests will meet to learn a little more about sustainability and how our clean-up will affect our planet for future generations.  Afterward, the whole group met in the Ford Fieldhouse to reflect on what they had learned from the act of service.

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Congratulations to GRCC’s Outstanding Student Service Award Winners for 2010-2011

The Michigan Campus Compact offers two awards to students of member colleges; The HEART AND SOUL AWARD recognizes undergraduate and graduate students for their time, effort and personal commitment to their community through service.

The COMMITMENT TO SERVICE AWARD recognizes TWO students per MCC member campus for either the breadth or the depth of his/her community involvement or service experience(s) and the demonstration of meaningful reflection.

GRCC’s award winners this year are as follows:

Heart and Soul:

  • Anthony Anderson
  • Melanie Bucklin
  • Michael Clark
  • William Friberg
  • Amy Kwekel
  • Stephanie Lara
  • Sarah Light

Commitment to Service:

  • Joshua Herrema

Congratulations to these spectacular students!

Our Earth Day Event (4/15/11)

The Academic Service Learning Center (ASLC) invites you to join in a day of community engagement and active learning. Our Earth Day Event which will be held on Friday, April 15th from 8:00 am-2:00 p.m. provides a unique opportunity to serve the community and promote environmental stewardship. This event is open to all students, staff, faculty, friends and family.

All participants will receive: light breakfast, lunch, free transportation to and from service projects, an ASLC t-shirt, and a great life-long learning experience.

For more details or to register please visit

For additional information contact Kelsey Caverly (x3459) or Sandy Andrews (x4223).

Photos: Service Learning “Pass it Forward” Event

Academic Service Learning Pass it Forward Event
Over 220 students, faculty, staff, friends and family joined the Academic Service Learning Center for their annual “Pass It Forward”, ePIFany Now event on Saturday, February 26th. 30 groups of 6-10 participants each filled the streets of Grand Rapids with an important mission: put a smile on a stranger’s face. The idea was simple: we served others in creative, direct ways and encouraged them to do the same!

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The day was hugely successful and participants really got into the spirit of giving. The ASLC would like to send a huge thank you to Chaz Rodriguez, president of Black Student Union, for getting the crowd excited for the day and all the faculty and staff that helped to get the word out – we couldn’t have done it without you!  Lori Mikita, a student and participant in the event, shared:
The “Pass it Forward” event was one of the most meaningful, heart-warming, eye-opening, experiences I have ever had the privilege of being a part of! It is a wonderful thing to take time out of our busy lives to acknowledge people, all people, whether it be the homeless or just somebody we run into on the street, at the grocery store, or anywhere. The look on the faces of those who are on the receiving end of a random act of kindness it priceless! And, while their day is brightened, being the one to give them that moment is even more rewarding; being on the giving end I feel the happiness ten-fold! And that feeling is addictive!
You can find additional photos from the event here. If you’d like to join us for upcoming events, please “like” us on our facebook page or visit to stay updated! Our next event, scheduled to celebrate Earth Day is on Friday, April 15th. Contact Kelsey Caverly at or 234-3459 for more information.