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6 GVSU Gems Freshmen Will Never Know

From new buildings to scenic landscapes, this university sinks a lot of money into impressing their ever growing student body (and the parents who pay for it). But Grand Valley didn’t always look this sleek and modern! In fact, if freshmen were born just a few years earlier, they would’ve been around to see some of the massive changes. Here are just six things incoming freshmen will stupidly reference to pretend they’re older than they are.

6.) The old library:

Even students who don’t remember a time before the Mary Idema Pew library still refer to J.H. Zumberg Hall as the “old library.” There’s little more than a ghost of a memory of the old library, with its brown brick walls, convoluted staircase, and attempt at a lounge area on the first floor; a stark contrast to the newer, expensive library from the future whose windows will blind everyone at sunset.

5.) 48th Avenue:

While most freshmen stay to their allotted, overpriced real estate on campus, it’s common to hop on a Route 48 bus to visit their classmates whose parents paid for off-campus housing. Sure, 48th Avenue is nice and clean now as a neat four-lane road, but it wasn’t always that way. Students braved left turns everywhere, risking death and dignity just to get home, and the summer it took to expand and fix 48th was nothing short of Hell. But hey, it’s not like students saving three months of rent by going back to mom and dad over the summer have anywhere to go anyway, right?

4.) The ground beneath Holton-Hooker:

You all know it: the big-ass building right in the middle of the dorms, slightly better than the freshman dorms cul-de-sac. But what was there before a living center? What did it replace? Before, it was a grassy knoll with a volleyball net and a paintable rock to try and spark friendly competition between dorms. It never worked, seeing as the rock always resorted to a canvas for cartoon dicks, hence it was plopped in front of Copeland instead. But at least now there’s a massive reminder of where all your tuition money goes.

3.) The old Laker Store:

The Marketplace is swanky with more of those blinding windows. Crave in Kirkhof’s also a huge bonus, offering mid-grade Chinese food that won’t budge in the bowl. Sadly, there was a time before Panda Express and that space in Kirkhof was for the Laker Store. The entire store was located on one floor because who cares about space to walk around? Between the haphazardly arranged clothing racks, to the compacted book shelves, getting textbooks always turned into a mosh pit experience of stabs and stubbed toes. The new Laker Store may have the devil stairs, but at least there’s space to move.

2.) The wrecking ball:

Ah yes, the incident that put GV on the map as a “legitimate” party school. There’s a portion of incoming freshmen who came solely because they heard about the wrecking ball incident. There was a time when the campus art piece swung free from its enclosure. Who knows how many asses, bare or clothed, have come into contact with that thing? When was the last time it was cleaned? Maybe it’s for the best that it’s kept fenced in like a zoo animal.

1.) Louie the Laker

He’s everyone’s favorite GV mascot to find and take a selfie with, second only to T. Haas. The tragic news broke last year that the man behind the gargantuan head was graduating. Who can possibly fill such big, important, micro plush shoes? Is it even possible? Incoming freshmen will never know what it’s like to not be in a constant state of worry over GV’s beloved mascot.

There have been a lot of changes over the years, and while upperclassmen can be bitter about how kids these days won’t appreciate the struggle of fishtailing on 48th or avoiding brawls over the last BIO 120 textbook, at least they can enjoy the fact that freshmen will struggle to come to terms with their new Louie the Laker, whoever he may be.  

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