GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Van Andel Institute Student Ambassador Program gathers students from all over West Michigan to virtually learn about the institute, research, and more. Students had the opportunity to speak with the research team, the communications team and even Carol Van Andel.

Through the ambassador program, students were able to learn how to communicate in new ways. Due to the pandemic, students had to work hard to plan an entire event as a team without ever meeting face to face. Students also were able to gain key communication skills through outreach and promoting their event.

The culminating event for this program is for the student ambassadors to plan their own fundraiser for the institute. The fundraising event is completely student driven and the current student ambassadors have spent a lot of time meeting inside and outside of their official meeting times to make sure that this event came together. These students have been able to plan a virtual auction to raise money for the institute. The money will go directly to cancer and Parkinson’s research. The items are currently accepting bids on the virtual silent auction website.