GRCC student gets political experience on, off campus



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

April 27, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College helped a Sparta High School student find his career path — and gave him plenty of experience along the way.

Dan Eggerding decided to attend GRCC to save money while fulfilling general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

“My goal was to then figure out my passion and transfer these credits over to that four-year institution that would have what I wanted to study,” he said. “The greatest thing I did at GRCC was join the College Democrats club. This club introduced me to so many new people and friends on campus. It was there that I discovered I wanted to dedicate my life to public-service, to help all people.”

For Eggerding, attending weekly meetings wasn’t enough. He served as vice president last year and president this year. He and other organization members worked to bring the annual Michigan Federation of College Democrats Conference to the campus last fall, making GRCC the first community college to host the event. He has since been elected the federation’s western regional director and will assist 10 chapters throughout the state with fundraising, outreach and member retention. He took his interest in politics outside the campus, as well, serving as a precinct delegate and campaigning for candidates.

It was clear that Eggerding had found his passion: political science.

In addition to his studies and his civic activities, Eggerding also found time to complete GRCC’s Honors Program. This program gave him an opportunity that many of his fellow political science students will envy: meeting a president.

“Dan participated in an essay contest where he earned the opportunity of meeting Jimmy Carter when the former president spoke as part of our Diversity Lecture Series,” said Michael Schavey, director of the department of experiential learning.

“Dan’s accomplishment of completing the Honors Program includes a range of learning activities designed to dig deeper into course content while being exposed to diverse ways of thinking and gaining leadership skills. He is an exemplary Honors student and I’m excited for his bright future.”

Eggerding, who also received GRCC’s Benham Service and Civic Engagement Award, will get an Associate of Arts degree during GRCC’s commencement at 7 p.m. May 1 in the Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton St. W. After graduation, he will transfer to Michigan State University’s James Madison College. He plans to major in political theory/constitutional democracy, social relations policy and Spanish.

“I have made many close personal relationships unexpectedly,” Eggerding said of his GRCC experience. “I have connected amazingly with students and great with staff. My counselors helped me with classes and future obstacles — and my new friends helped me along the way.”

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.