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GVSU Students Volunteer at Film Festival

The Thunder Bay International Film Festival is starting this weekend, and they expect a large number of people to come through for the first time in person since 2019. Since this is the case, they’re going to need some extra help.

That’s where a group of Grand Valley State University students comes in. Students with all sorts of different educational backgrounds made the four hour trip up from Grand Rapids Friday afternoon to learn about how they can help out.

“They were talking about other opportunities and other classes we could do to fill out credits, and this one came up, and I was like, ‘that sounds really cool, I would love to go up north and see this film festival, and see what it’s about,'” said GVSU Environmental and Sustainability student Sophia Kempf.

For the students, it not only allows them to fill out their educational requirements, but it also allows them to get hands on experience.

“This is the first time that all 13 of our students have come to Alpena, so they also get to experience the region as well,” said GVSU Graduate Assistant Amanda Witsaman.

This being their first time in the area, they’re excited to learn more about northeast Michigan and experience the film festival.

“I think that it’s going to be a wonderful experience, Stephanie [Gandulla] has really invited us in to kind of review the film festival and give our own recommendations on how it can be improved and how more community can be reached, so we’re excited to help in that way as well,” said Witsaman.

The film festival runs in Alpena for the weekend before concluding in Rogers City on Monday. There will be 102 screenings over the course of the festival, and the students are excited to be a part of it.

“I’m just really looking forward to seeing the community and seeing everybody learn more about sustainability and learn more about the Great Lakes and everything about it, I’m really excited to see that.”

On Saturday, the film festival runs from 10 am to 4 pm, followed by a reception from 6 pm to 9 pm, and there will be Grand Valley State volunteers everywhere.