Ashley Fox is here to help in the Student Life and Conduct office. As the assistant director her goal is to get students connected to student organizations, or to help create new student organizations, all of which will enrich their time here at GRCC.
"Getting involved can easily expand your circle of friends, and is a great way to stay motivated about your personal or academic interests, even if you’re still deciding," she says. "Currently I co-advise Student Alliance and the Garden Club and it is life giving! If you're curious about how to get involved, stop in and we’ll talk!"
Working in the office of Student Life allows Ashley to get to know students for who they are individually and who they aspire to be. She knows that building community with staff and faculty on campus is important for a student's academic and personal development.
Ashley attended GRCC right out of high school and was the first in her family to go to college. Everything was new and unfamiliar to her. "I remember feeling pressure to perform well in school while balancing work and family commitments, among other life circumstances," she says. "At the time I didn’t know what college was supposed to be, or feel like, but I knew I loved learning and enjoyed being in downtown, Grand Rapids." At first Ashley did not know what career she wanted to aim for, but she knew what to study, and kept taking classes -- moving towards what gave her energy, while ruling out what was not a good fit. "It didn’t always feel like I was making progress," she says, "but I knew to keep trying."
Fortunately, there were staff and faculty who encouraged Ashley to broaden her horizons and try new things on- and off-campus. She is glad she was challenged to step out of her comfort zone. Outside of her self-perceived limits, she experienced job shadowing, working as an intern, volunteering in the community, traveling, researching, and meeting new people via student orgs. Those new experiences helped her consider and discard many career options, and moved her forward on her educational journey. Those experiences also helped her build her community, and gave her a sense of belonging that helped her stay committed to her education. "Fast forward to today, it’s no surprise that my work here on campus is fueled by my own college experiences and the culture of care that is so valued at GRCC," she says. After graduating from GRCC Ashley attended GVSU to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in social and cultural perspectives on education. She continued at GVSU to earn a Master of Education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership.
Ashley wants students to know that she understands how hard it can be hard to walk into unfamiliar spaces on campus, even when the stakes are low. But she encourages everyone to take the leap, and wants them to know that you have a place in Student Life. "Come in and find a comfortable spot to take a break between classes and to be yourself," she says.