Note: Several members of the Van Andel Millennial Board will offer individual perspectives on the recent visit to Grand Rapids. Some posts will recap the entire visit, while others will discuss individual tour stops.
By: Megan Vandekerkhove, Adrian College
As a Van Andel Millennial Board member, a recent tour took me to an area of Michigan that I have never visited before – Grand Rapids. I live on the east side of Michigan so when someone says “big city,” I think of Detroit or Ann Arbor, not Grand Rapids. However, after this tour I am happy to say that my views have changed. In just two days, I was completely wowed by the city of Grand Rapids.
We visited all types of businesses, local establishments and organizations, which offered a unique and broad perspective of the city. On this tour, my favorite locations to visit were The Rapid and Kids’ Food Basket because they both demonstrated the drive that the city has to do good and help its citizens.
The Rapid, the region’s bus system, was personally exciting to me because we were able to see all of the efforts to provide efficient and effective transportation to all citizens, a big step forward to improving the mobility of Grand Rapids. I was also very impressed with the massive sustainability efforts taken on by The Rapid. From the green roof on its operations center to alternative energy buses, it was nice to see such a commitment to improving the environment by such an integral organization that is already doing a lot of good.
Kids’ Food Basket is a local organization that really touched my heart. To see the amazing work that is being done by this organization was overwhelming. When I found out that 1 in 4 children in Grand Rapids are food insecure, I was shocked that there is that much of a deficit in this beautiful city. But then to see that Kids’ Food Basket has been tackling this problem head-on every day really goes to show the passion Grand Rapids has to help.
Overall, I truly enjoyed my taste of Grand Rapids and I most definitely intend to share all the information with my peers, so that they too can understand the worth that this city has. Thank you, Grand Rapids!