Saginaw Valley State University has appointed John Decker to serve as director of Athletics in a permanent capacity. Decker had been serving as the interim director since January when Mike Watson retired.
"I appreciate John's willingness to accept the challenge of leading our athletic department," said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. "His career has been outside of intercollegiate athletics, and over the past several months while he has been serving in an interim capacity, I have found value in the fresh perspective he has brought to the job, and the opportunities for growth he has identified."
"As a former student-athlete himself, John is passionate about providing our student-athletes with the best possible experience both educationally and competitively, and I know that will be his top priority every day."
Decker joined SVSU in 2014 as associate vice president and general counsel. Prior to that, he worked for 34 years for the Saginaw-based law firm Braun Kendrick, including 12 years as managing partner.
"I am excited for this opportunity to lead the SVSU Cardinal athletics program," Decker said. "We have a rich athletic tradition, combined with a good balance of academic performance, which is what the NCAA Division II athletic experience should be."
A Saginaw native, Decker played college football at the University of Nebraska, where he completed a bachelor's degree. He earned a law degree at Duke University.
Decker will hold an appointment as associate vice president for legal affairs at SVSU, though his primary responsibilities will lie in Athletics. His wife Sally is a professor of nursing at SVSU; they have two adult children.
Saginaw Valley State University has earned the 2019 “best dorms” ranking, thanks to students’ praise for the welcoming environment and outstanding facilities.
SVSU is like home for Ty'Shawn Short. The scent of chicken and shrimp alfredo that often permeates his on-campus residence is one of the many reminders of that fact. Much to his delight, that same aroma often filled his nostrils back at his family's house in Detroit.
“I love to cook,” he said, “and they give you a big stove and oven when you move here. There's so much room. You can't beat it.”
Not many higher institutions can compete with SVSU's residential student environment, according to a website ranking the best on-campus housing environments in the nation. In its Best College Dorms in America ranking, Niche placed SVSU No. 1 among public universities and No. 8 overall in the nation.
SVSU has consistently rated among the national leaders in both categories since 2015.
Niche calculates its rankings using a weighted formula where 70 percent of a school's score comes from students' satisfaction with their housing, as well as data from the U.S. Department of Education. Niche evaluated the residential environment of 1,370 colleges and universities nationwide in its 2019 rankings.
“The facts don't lie,” said Short, a criminal justice major and residential assistant, about SVSU's high rating. “You have everything you need if you're living here.”
For students such as Short, that type of welcoming, friendly environment is invaluable. With a comfortable setting that includes first-rate facilities and an active campus life environment, the junior said he has less reason to return often to Detroit when in need of his creature comforts. Many of those comforts are available inside his residence hall room or within walking distance of the residence.
“I can play basketball or football intramural games or study late at the library on campus, and just walk back to my place when I'm done,” he said.
Michele Gunkelman, SVSU's director of residential life, said SVSU's housing facilities possesses another secret ingredient: a residential student population empowered to create a supportive and fun campus community for itself.
“This is what makes the SVSU residential experience stand out from other institutions in our state and beyond,” she said.
Jocelynn Fair, a double major in psychology and political science from Au Gres, is enjoying her second year residing on campus. She now works as a residential assistant, supporting other on-campus students.
“I tell people all the time, 'Campus life at SVSU has changed my life,'” she said. “Being so close to all the students and all the student activities made me feel like SVSU had a place for me.”
The relatively modest size of SVSU's campus means she is never far from friends or classrooms. The on-campus presence of popular eateries such as Starbucks, Panda Express and Subway mean students have less reason to venture far from home. Free screenings of recently-released movies are a hit with many students, she said. And more than 200 registered student organizations cater to a variety of interests. Fair is a vice president of one of those groups and a member of another.
“And the laundry here is free,” she said. “That always helps.”
For the 2018-19 academic year, SVSU's residence halls are filled to capacity, housing 2,450 students.
Saginaw Valley State University's Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy is facilitating the Midland Political Leadership Academy for residents of Midland County.
The political leadership program teaches interested individuals about how to run for office or learn about appointed positions available in Midland County. The session will be held Saturday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Midland Chamber of Commerce, located at 300 Rodd Street in downtown Midland.
Interested individuals can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acceptance is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. The academy is free to all participants, and lunch will be provided.
The program will feature lectures on the topics of appointed positions in Midland County, how to run for a political office, and examine effective campaign strategies.
The Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy – founded in 2011 – is a 10-month program at SVSU that educates citizens in the Great Lakes Bay Region on various political and leadership topics.
The program is named after the late Henry Marsh, who served as mayor of Saginaw beginning in 1967 and later served on SVSU's Board of Fellows. He received an honorary degree from SVSU in 1970.
The Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy is funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. For more information, please visit www.svsu.edu/henrymarsh/.
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a lecture by a marketing and retail management scholar that will explore the causes and effects of impulse buying.
Jamie Grigsby will speak Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall at SVSU. The event is free and open to the public.
Her lecture, “Impulse Buying: How Bad is it, Really?,” will explore the factors that can influence us while impulse buying, including marketing and promotional messages. Grigsby will discuss the positive and negative consequences of behaving impulsively and how to avoid making impulse purchases – if you want to. She will also consider the future of impulse buying and discuss the potential consequences of a world in which impulse buying is as simple as asking your home virtual assistant to make the purchase.
Grigsby is an assistant professor of marketing at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where she teaches consumer behavior, social media marketing, principles of marketing and promotions management. She holds a bachelor's degree in retail management from Purdue University, and a master's degree in business administration and a Ph.D. in marketing, both from Kent State University.
Grigsby’s research, published in the Journal of Advertising, explores consumer persuasion as well as how consumers process advertising messages. Her work on impulse purchasing was recently presented at the Association for Consumer Research North American Conference.
During her visit to SVSU, Grigsby will also be meeting with marketing majors and students in communication and media classes.
Her lecture is part of the 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series, a program at SVSU established through an endowment from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our region’s cultural and intellectual opportunities.
The Detroit Symphony Trio will perform a recital Friday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Saginaw Valley State University's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.
Violinst Sheryl Sul Hwangbo, cellist David LeDoux and flutist Jeffery Zook compose the trio – formed in 2015 by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – that performs throughout Michigan to bring innovative and inspiring sounds to audiences of all ages.
Sul Hwangbo joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2012. She received a bachelor's degree in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She also received a master's degree in music from the Julliard School and a professional studies degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
LeDoux also joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2012. He has performed as a soloist for numerous orchestras across the country. Before joining the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he was the principal cellist for the Syracuse Symphony for several years.
Zook has been a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy and continued his education at the University of Michigan. He also attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and he received the Recitalists' Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in London, England.
For more information about the recital, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at email@example.com or (989) 964-4159.
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting its annual 9/11 Heroes Run to benefit the Bay Veterans Foundation as its local charity recipient.
The event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11, and will consist of both a 5K and a 400M "fun run" for children.
The fun run will begin at 6 p.m. with the opening ceremony to follow at 6:10 p.m. The 5K run starts at 6:30 p.m. Registration for the 5K is $30 per person. Participants who are active in the military or members of a first responder agency can receive a discount on their registration.
Participants can also register for the GORUCK division of the race. Rucking is when the participants wear a weighted bag on their back during the 5K.
The run will begin in the parking lot of SVSU's Gilbertson Hall. The course will continue along the paved campus running trail.
The Bay Veterans Foundation was formed in 2015. During the past three years, the foundation has constructed a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Bay City's Battery Park and is currently working on funding a building where local veterans can gather to socialize, reflect and participate in various activities.
SVSU's 9/11 Heroes Run will also support The Travis Manion Foundation, the national nonprofit that has organized the annual fundraiser at locations across the world since 2007. The foundation works to empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
The Kochville and Saginaw Township fire departments are both supporting the run this year, along with the Michigan State Police.
There will also be several SVSU campus offices and organizations supporting this year's annual run, including Admissions, Campus Recreation, the Cardinal Marching Band, Military Student Affairs, Student Life and University Communications.
Those interested in participating in the SVSU 5K run can register online at www.svsu.edu/heroesrun until Sept. 10 at midnight, or sign up at the site of the race beginning at 5 p.m. Sept. 11.
Two Saginaw Valley State University club hockey players have been selected to serve as members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division III Select Team.
Guy Soulliere, a graphic design major from Gladwin, and Steven Roberts, a general business major from Beaverton, have made great impacts on SVSU's team and on the national stage, leading to them having the opportunity to compete at the international level.
“When I found out, I was ecstatic,” Roberts said. “I went to Europe two years ago with the same team, and we traveled a lot. We got to play good hockey, and it was a great learning experience. I enjoyed traveling and learning about the different cultures over there.”
As members of this team, they will travel to Albany, New York for team training camp from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 to prepare for the Student Hockey Challenge in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from Sept. 28 to Oct. 8. They will play teams from both Europe and Russia.
Only 22 players were selected from the 158 Division III club hockey teams in the nation, with SVSU being one of 14 colleges and universities represented this year.
“When I found out I was selected along with another team member, I was very excited,” Soulliere said. “It's an experience only few get to have, and I am honored to be selected.”
Both athletes are entering their fifth and final year of competition at SVSU. Last season, Roberts played center and was the scoring leader of the team. Soulliere was the overall point leader while he played forward and defense.
The two hockey players said they are eager to vie for a tournament championship across the world.
The teammates are eager to travel and compete, but Soulliere said that they will not be taking this opportunity for granted.
Saginaw Valley State University leaders say a new partnership between the institution and a national organization will bolster the positive influence of the arts community in Saginaw.
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a grassroots organization not affiliated with a government agency, recently designated Saginaw as one of its “outposts” for encouraging interaction within the arts community. SVSU was selected as the home base of that “outpost,” now known as The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost.
“The goal is to provide individuals a platform and resources to help them be active and engaged in their communities,” said Helen Raica-Klotz, director of SVSU’s Writing Center as well as coordinator of The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost. “We want to improve the lives of the community.”
New York City, Baltimore, Denver and Berkeley are among the other “outposts” designated by the national organization.
Raica-Klotz said The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost’s goals involve connecting regional artists, activists and leaders, then encouraging them to engage the larger community in dialogue relating to issues facing Saginaw. The arts will be used as a way to spark those conversations.
The first project associated with The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost is a short documentary, “A Body of Work,” that details the highs and lows of Saginaw’s automobile manufacturing industry. The film premieres Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Pit & Balcony Theatre, 805 N. Hamilton in Saginaw. A panel discussion about the state of the automotive industry and its impact on Saginaw will follow the showing, which is free and open to the public.
The film was produced by Elisa Urtiaga, a community artist, in collaboration with members of SVSU’s staff and faculty. David Rzeszutek, an SVSU associate professor of theatre and one of the film’s collaborators, said the production exemplifies the spirit driving The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost.
“Hopefully, our interview-based film will inspire a reaction and allow people to open up about their personal experiences during this conversation,” Rzeszutek said.
Another goal of The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost involves improving participants’ access to resources. Raica-Klotz said The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture provides information on grant opportunities available to arts and cultural leaders seeking collaboration. Individuals can learn about those opportunities by signing up for the organization’s email newsletter at https://usdac.us/saginaw. Information also is available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaginawUSDAC/.
Raica-Klotz said SVSU is a natural fit to serve as a center for such community interaction.
Because of the university’s culture of outreach and collaboration in the Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU in 2015 received a Community Engagement Classification designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university also recently established the Center for Community Engagement, which centralizes many of SVSU’s outreach programs. The new center helped the university earn its designation as The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost. And many of the artists and cultural leaders likely to collaborate through The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost programs are members of the university’s student, staff, faculty or alumni populations.
“We have a number of artists who are on our campus and in our region that are very engaged politically, socially, and are very community-minded,” Raica-Klotz said. “This is a great platform for artists in the community and the university to come together to do work to benefit the region.”
Health professionals at Saginaw Valley State University are determined to secure resources to improve health for people living in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
SVSU recently received a 2-year, $352,574 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to establish an addiction recovery support team specializing in patients 60 and older at the Bay Community Health Clinic in downtown Bay City.
The SVSU-supported regional health clinic will bolster its staff and resources in an effort to save lives and treat a demographic left especially vulnerable to the nation's deadly opioid addiction crisis.
The health clinic was established in January 2015 through a partnership between the Bay County Health Department and SVSU, which provides much of the staff and resources for the clinic. The facility largely caters to clients less likely to seek treatment at more traditional medical facilities. Beginning in January 2019, the clinic will begin adding services for the growing number of senior citizens suffering from addictions to alcohol and drugs, including opioids.
“The older adult population is really under-recognized in this opioid epidemic,” said Kathleen Schachman, SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing and a nurse practitioner at the clinic.
The medical and mental health needs of the older population are far more complex, and substance use disorders are often under-recognized, she said.
“Health care providers often attribute their symptoms to aging or to other co-occurring health conditions,” Schachman said. “Due to stigma or a lack of age-appropriate services, older adults fail to get the help they need. This calls for addictions care that is tailored to the unique needs of the older adult, and that's what we want to provide.”
The grant in part will fund additional staff for the clinic including health care-trained professionals from both Ferris State University and Recovery Pathways, an Essexville-based outpatient rehabilitation program for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.
The Bay Community Health Clinic is no stranger to helping those with substance use disorders, but the staff largely has been limited to treating those clients for mental health issues. To treat physical dependence relating to substance use, the clinic has referred individuals to other facilities. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund's support will change that.
By January, the clinic will staff a specially-trained nurse practitioner who will be certified to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Health care professionals equipped with that type of certification are rare in the region, Schachman said.
“And some of the rural areas we hope to impact – like Arenac and Oscoda counties – have zero prescribers of buprenorphine,” she said.
The grant will allow the clinic to add a nurse practitioner to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, a substance use counselor and a peer addictions recovery coach. The clinic utilizes an integrated approach – teaming professionals in nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and social work – to address physical and mental health issues on multiple fronts.
The funding also will support the clinic's educational component.
Since its founding, the clinic has been staffed by faculty members with experience as medical professionals. They have been supported by students – largely from SVSU but also Michigan State University and Wayne State University in previous years – who provide help while receiving hands-on training from the faculty. The new grant will allow SVSU and Ferris State to embed opioid addiction recovery material in the classroom curriculum.
“This isn't just about how we can help here and now,” Schachman said. “We're preparing the next generation of healthcare providers to more adequately deal with this crisis.”
As January approaches, clinic staff will prepare for the new resources and advertise the facility's expanded service – known as The GRACE (Gaining Recovery in Addiction for Community Elders) Project – to community members who one day could be saved by it.
The Bay Community Health Clinic is located within the Bay County Health Department building at 1200 Washington in Bay City. The clinic provides primary care medical services for patients of all ages. Those in need of such services can contact the facility at (989) 895-2035.
A Saginaw Valley State University student and staff member were recently recognized as national leaders by Alpha Kappa Lambda (AKL) fraternity.
Gabe Kasper, a marketing major from Clare who served as the SVSU chapter's president until recently, won The Clarence E. Brehm Leadership Award at the fraternity's conference in the Bahamas August 1-4.
“When I received the Brehm Award, I was completely dumbfounded,” Kasper said. “As they were reading, I slowly put the pieces together that they were talking about me, and I was in complete shock that I - out of thousands of other AKL undergraduate members - was the one the National Executive Council chose.
“To me, what I do in AKL isn't something extraordinary. The people who won that same award in the past have gone and done amazing things in their life, and I still cannot believe that my name will be in the same category.”
It has been a very busy year for the fraternity that was only recently chartered on SVSU's campus on March 16, marking the first time a fraternity had been chartered at SVSU in the past decade.
The chapter's advisor, Riley Hupfer, an SVSU alumnus and assistant director of SVSU's Center for Community Engagement, was awarded the Henry T. Moon Outstanding Chapter Advisor award for his outstanding work while advising the fraternity.
During the past school year, members of the SVSU chapter of Alpha Kappa Lambda promoted causes such as sexual assault prevention and alcohol safety education.
The fraternity collects pledges for These Hands Don't Hurt, a national philanthropic organization aimed at preventing domestic or sexual violence. In 2018, the SVSU chapter added a bike-a-thon to raise funds for to local women's shelters. For every $1 raised, members rode an exercise bike for 1 minute. In the past two years, they have raised over $500.
SVSU’s Alpha Kappa Lambda chapter also worked with others to introduce a Glo-Hard Paint and Foam Party in 2017 to provide alcohol safety education as part of Welcome Weekend, which marks the start of a new academic year. Partnering with SVSU’s offices of Student Life and Student Wellness Programs, among others, students who attend the party get party-safe and alcohol-safe tips from our trained students and professionals while foam cannons and luminescent paint cover attendees dancing to music from top local DJs. The first-year event attracted more than 750 people and resulted in donations of $250 to Hurricane Irma relief efforts; this year they hope to draw more than 1,000 students.
While the national awards were given to individuals, Kasper said the 22 fraternity members worked hard to accomplish the recognition received. He looks forward to watching the chapter continue to grow.
“The most rewarding thing was the realization that our leadership and dedication will now lead to a legacy of people to grow as men under the foundation we set,” Kasper said. “AKL really changed my idea of what a fraternity is. Fraternity is so much more than what the media portrays. Greek letters – especially at SVSU – do so much more for the campus and the community, and make a true impact.”