I would say I am more than qualified to write this piece. My first two years of undergrad, I was a bulldog but I have to be 100% honest with everyone, I love being a Laker.
The two schools are in the same conference athletically but it feels like two different worlds when you live there. I love all my Ferris friends, but they will see exactly where I am coming from.
Ferris State has a completely flat campus with the football field awkwardly placed right in the middle. They have a beautiful library and brand new university center that is surrounded by old/sad buildings. Grand Valley, on the other hand, has heated sidewalks, gorgeous facilities, and the view of the clock tower as the sun is setting is an absolute must see. Grand Valley is putting in a terrific new rec center while Ferris has a rec center that can double as a sauna as it is hotter than the Sahara in there. This is only the beginning.
2. Location, Location, Location
If you braved living north of Grand Rapids as youngster and weren’t bored every single day, you are tougher than me. There are about 3 cities north of Grand Rapids in the Lower Peninsula that there are fun activities to do in and Big Rapids is not one of them. Allendale is a small quiet community which is quite relaxing. If fun and excitement is what you are looking for, Downtown Grand Rapids in no more than a 10-12 mile bus ride away (free if you are a Grand Valley student). The closest collection of more than 1000 people that don’t drive lifted trucks is at least 45 minutes away from Ferris. That is borderline intolerable.
As anyone who lives in Michigan knows, college football is king around these parts. I would guess because watching the Lions is so depressing. I will give Ferris the wins in the regular season because champions make plays when the plays really count. Ferris has won the last two GlIAC championships, but lost to the Lakers in the games that matter, the playoffs. Grand Valley was among the final four football teams left in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Grand Valley’s fan base travels as a whole much better than Ferris State too. The Lakers pack out Top Taggert Field when the Lakers are on the road to knock the bulldogs out of the playoffs.
This is not even a diss on Ferris. This section is all about the feelings I have for Grand Valley. Coming in as a transfer student I felt welcome as soon as I walked into my first class. Playing intramural sports was extremely easy and people are all willing to play different sports. I made friends in every class who were all willing to help out a fellow student. On a much more serious note, there is free food ALL THE TIME and if that doesn’t say community, I really do not know what does.
Grand Valley has not only the Allendale campus but the Downtown Grand Rapids campus that both have excellent resources for students. Having multiple libraries and tons of locations to study is really nice to have. All the space allows students to meet for group project and study comfortably. There are a lot of students at Grand Valley and that helps to make them more diverse as far as population unlike Ferris. A solid majority of students at both schools are from Michigan but there is a far wider scope of where Grand Valley students are from. I appreciate the diversification of the student body of Grand Valley. The people are incredibly approachable.
More people, more competition right? Honestly, no. The teams are so even because the talent is spread out with the larger population of Grand Valley students. It is more fun. The games are competitive but in a fun way at Grand Valley. Ferris is so small you are either getting run off the court by the football team or playing against the people who didn’t know that Ferris had a rec center before joining intramurals. There are very few middle of the pack talent teams and that is what makes playing intramurals at Grand Valley a lot more enjoyable. There is some high quality competition at both schools, but if you are an average joe, like myself, Grand Valley intramurals are the way to go.
7. Less Lifted Trucks
Now this one strikes me to the core. When I walk around campus and Grand Valley I can talk on the phone, listen to music, or carry a conversation at a nice and easy volume without any worry. At Ferris I had to keep my eyes peeled for an eardrum busting lifted truck to coming hauling by. The lifted truck problem in Big Rapids honestly deserves a public service announcement. This is pretty low on the list but in my book this ranks as the number one reason Grand Valley is better than Ferris State.
8. The Ratio
Have you ever walked into a crowded apartment on a Friday night to see 15 guys crowded around a beer pong table? The rest of the apartment has about 6 other people and it is three couples. The girls in these couples are the only girls in the establishment. If you have never had this happen, you probably do not go to Ferris State University. Anyone that has ever been to a party at Ferris knows exactly what I am talking about. Grand Valley has the complete opposite problem and not one person here is complainin about it. Well, that I know of.
This might have something to do with #8. With less all male parties of destruction, the apartments are better taken care of. The facilities and amenities are also taken care of with more patience. My apartment complex last year had a few little get-togethers where they gave out bagels at the bus stop and one Sunday they made everyone breakfast burritos. Those were glorious days. When I lived at Ferris our washing machine broke one day. The office came and fixed it. They just happened to fix it two weeks later. Enjoy Grand Valley’s off campus housing because not all school’s apartments are that nice.
10. Louie the Laker
If I was going to start with school pride, you better believe I am going to end with it too. Louie the Laker is an absolute boss. No mascot in the country rocks that sailor suit quite like my man Louie. Bulldogs, by nature, are lazy and not all that pleasant to look at. More importantly, the name Brutus is not even half as awesome as the name Louie and that is how I will leave it. Grand Valley is a wonderful school. I made fantastic friends at Ferris but they will realize that I’m right. I respect Ferris State, but there is not another university out there like Grand Valley State.