Nursing students, faculty win GVSU Laker Effect Challenge with disaster-preparedness event

By Kayla Sosa

Nursing students and faculty won all the available prize money at Grand Valley State University’s Laker Effect Challenge, a pitch competition where students and staff team up with community partners to do something good for the community.

Students and staff from the Kirkhof College of Nursing partnered with Other Way Ministries, Servant’s Church and members of the West side community to host an event that will educate community members on how to prepare for a disaster.

The event will tentatively be called “Zombie Apocalypse” and will feature a fun or haunted house, games and activities, food, and local organizations will be there with with more disaster planning resources. Maureen Ryan, assistant professor of nursing, said the haunted house will have a medical theme, and will include an operating room, bats, a graveyard and other Halloween themed scenarios.

“Some of the fun house will be scenes of not preparing for disasters,” Ryan said. “As people walk through, there will be information on things needed for a disaster. Specific information will be handed out in the disaster bags that will help people prepare for disasters.”

Each family that attends will receive a backpack that includes certain items needed in a disaster, like a crank up radio, flashlight, list of food and more. Ryan said the winnings from the pitch competition will primarily be used to buy the backpacks and supplies, build the fun house and provide dinner for participants.

GVSU senior Kenny Urena-Gonzalez is double majoring in Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. He has been involved in the project since they hosted their first event last fall.

“Not a lot of people have disaster plans,” Urena-Gonzalez said. “We want people to get out of their house, meet their neighbors … socialize, talk to them, make some friends. With disaster planning, it’s really good to show people that, hey there’s organizations in your area like the Other Way Ministries and Servant’s Church that you can go to for help, whether it’s a disaster or not.”


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