Grand Valley State University is a four-year public university in West Michigan providing undergraduate education to over 24,000 students. GVSU in Allendale, MI, has an established reputation for creating unique learning opportunities, and their diligence in assisting its students to achieve their highest goals is apparent in the successes of their graduates.
Annoesjka Steinman graduated from GVSU in May 2008, after earning her Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management with an emphasis in Aquatic Ecosystems. In September2009, she was named the executive director of Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, where she says that she enjoys a position that allows her to "dabble" in a plethora of environmental and educational issues, such as stream erosion and land management issues. She also oversees the center’s small farm and 143 acres, which thousands of children use as a classroom each year. Here, children’s natural curiosity is piqued as they connect to the outdoors and develop a love of the natural world. Steinman believes it’s important to teach kids at a young age about how important it is to protect the environment because it sustains all living things by providing food, shelter, and quality of life.
Another graduate who has accomplished a significant amount since graduating from GVSU in 2008 is Kyle Denning. Along with Denning, Dan Kuipers, an undergraduate student at GVSU, co-founded Sustainable Energy Financing, a company that promotes renewable energy and sustainability-related projects both domestically and internationally. Denning received a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Finance. Hired by Viability-- an organization that provides renewable energy consulting--right after graduation, Denning met Kuipers. After working together for nearly two years, they founded their own company, acquired Viability, and expanded their company to Africa. Both Denning and Kuipers have their eyes on the future and a deep concern for the world that children today will grow up in.
Tony Rotman, another graduate of GVSU, also has a great interest in sustainability. After taking a class at GVSU called Visionary Thinkers, he made a career change that focused on sustainability. Rotman has since built a successful career on creating energy-efficient supply chain systems in the furniture industry. Rotman is currently a production manager at Q Collection in New York City, a sustainable design firm that uses non-toxic and locally sourced materials to produce furniture. As part of his job, he travels to manufacturing facilities where he educates employees about social responsibility.
“What’s happening right now is that most furniture is built in ways that are the quickest and cheapest,” Rotman said. “But there are better ways of doing things, and it’s often the little, behind-the-scenes things that can have a huge impact. It can start at the distribution and manufacturing points. Although plastic is cheaper to use for packaging, it’s bad for the environment and for people, so it’s very important to use other renewable materials. It’s just a matter of educating the public about it.”
Rotman is also an advocate for teaching people about sustainable practices abroad.
If you have a desire to help care for the environment, there are many choices you can make to do that. Grand Valley State University can help you make the right choices to fulfill that dream. For more information about this college located in Allendale, MI, please visit their website at www.gvsu.edu/acad-index.htm or call them at the phone number below.
Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive Allendale, MI 49401-9403, ph: (616) 331-5000
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