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March 2, 2017

SVSU partners with United Way of Midland County to research food needs

Saginaw Valley State University is providing expertise to a community-oriented research project aimed at improving access to food for low-income households.

In partnership with the United Way of Midland County, SVSU began a project in late 2015 to evaluate emergency food assistance in Midland County.

“They weren't seeing a whole lot of people coming through the doors, so they were concerned that there was a disparity between the need and people who were actually coming to get some of these services,” said Brian Thomas, SVSU associate professor of sociology.

This led to United Way planting the seed that would become Midland County Hunger Connections, a collaborative project between several nonprofits and SVSU to raise awareness and reduce barriers for those who might fall into the classification of “food insecure.”

According to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity “is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
Many food-insecure households have an income above the U.S. poverty level and struggle to meet the basic needs of their family due to the cost of living.

United Way distributed a survey early in 2016 to gauge the food security needs of the community and how access to such things as food banks, backpack programs and school programs can be improved.

“We had these initial meetings between United Way, and there was a discussion about what would be the best way for SVSU to provide expertise,” Thomas explained. “We decided that we would provide some input as to the survey development and that we would assist with survey analysis.

“There are many families with people who are working low-wage or perhaps seasonal jobs and, even though they are employed, they don't have reliable access to healthy food.  Many of these families met USDA definitions of food insecure.”

Though the survey and analysis portion of this community project has concluded, there is still work to be done. Midland County Hunger Connections will continue to educate families and individuals on how to access available food resources.

Thomas will remain involved with the project moving forward as he currently sits on a subcommittee within the group which will allow him to play an advisory role.

February 28, 2017

SVSU commemorates Black History Month

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a number of public events throughout Black History Month in 2017.  The public is invited to SVSU throughout the month of February to join the university at its multiple Black History Month events. All events are free of charge and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. The events include:

•    The documentary “Land Grab” will be shown Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the SVSU Student Life Center.‌ The film captures the story of an eccentric finance mogul's dream to create the world's largest urban farm in his hometown of Detroit.  The movie's director, Sean King O'Grady, will be on hand to discuss this intriguing film.

•    Author Lawrence Ross will speak Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. He is the author of “Blackballed,” which explores the present and historical issues of racism on hundreds of American college campuses, and how that ties into today's Black Lives Matter campaign.

•    Ken Jolly, SVSU professor of history, will host an open discussion on higher education today through a lens of ethnic- and gender-centric viewpoints. His talk will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. in the Roberta Allen Reading Room, on the fourth floor of Zanhow Library.

•    SVSU will host its annual “Taste of Soul” luncheon Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Marketplace at Doan cafeteria.‌ The event provides an opportunity for the community to sample various “soul food” recipes prepared by SVSU faculty and staff.  The cost per person is $8.75.

•    SVSU students and others can hear from past Cardinals during “Life After SVSU: an African-American Alumni Panel” Monday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in Curtiss Hall Seminar Room D. The event is an opportunity for current SVSU students to network and engage with notable SVSU alumni about their careers and life after college.

A full calendar of SVSU Black History Month activities is available online. For additional information, please contact SVSU’s Office of Multicultural Services at (989) 964-7090.

February 28, 2017

SVSU seeking charity partner for 2017 Battle of the Valleys competition

Saginaw Valley State University students have shown an incredible community-minded spirit over the past 14 years, raising more than $350,000 to support numerous worthy causes and charitable organizations during the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition.

In 2016, the SVSU community raised $26,000 in one week for Hidden Harvest, an organization that strives to feed those in need in the Great Lakes Bay Region by collecting and redistributing surplus food. The SVSU Student Association hosted a luncheon on campus Friday, Feb. 24 to express appreciation for the many people who volunteered for Battle of the Valleys and to formally present the funds to Samantha McKenzie, president and CEO of Hidden Harvest and an SVSU alumna, and Terry Rock, Hidden Harvest board chair.

The SVSU Student Association is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations interested in serving as SVSU’s charity partner for 2017. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 31.

Each year, SVSU students band together for a week-long charitable fundraising competition with students from Grand Valley State University. Over the past 14 years, the two schools have raised a combined total of $552,150.

For more information or to request an application, please contact Emma Eldred, Battle of the Valleys coordinator, at

The 2017 Battle of the Valleys will take place Sunday, Sept. 24 to Friday, Sept. 29, leading up to the football game Saturday, Sept. 30.

For more information on Battle of the Valleys, please visit

February 24, 2017

SVSU forensics team places second in competition

A Saginaw Valley State University student’s performance helped propel the institution’s forensics team to a second-place finish at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament Feb. 18 at Northwood University.

The top SVSU performer was Gina Kearly, who earned Top Speaker honors and placed first overall in the Programmed Oral Interpretation category. In order to be considered for Top Speaker, students must compete in several events in categories including public address, limited preparation, and oral interpretation.

SVSU’s individual performance results include the following:

  • Codi Aymer, a communication major from Midland, placed fourth in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, placed fourth in the impromptu category.
  • Cody Bromberg, a communication major from Essexville, placed seventh in the impromptu category.
  • Gylian Castle, a communication major from Standish, placed second in the persuasion category.
  • Andrea Garner, a secondary education major from Westland, placed seventh in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Tiler Jewell, a creative writing major from Bay City, placed fourth in the persuasion category.
  • Kearly, a communication and theatre double major from Midland, in addition to Top Speaker, placed first in the programmed oral interpretation category, third in the rhetorical criticism category, fifth in the dramatic interpretation category, and sixth in the impromptu category.
  • Adia Rodgers, a medical laboratory science major from Saginaw, placed third in the persuasion category.

The SVSU forensics team is advised by Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication.

For more information regarding the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament, visit


February 24, 2017

SVSU professor to speak on post-Civil War black families and black print

Eric Gardner, professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University, will speak Tuesday, March 7 at noon at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. The talk will explore post-Civil War memories of slavery and race and the role of black print culture.

This event, part of a presentation series established by the museum in order to bring community members together over discussion of historical topics relating to the Saginaw County area, is titled “‘Information Wanted’: Black Press, Black Families, and American Memory.”

After receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the 2012-13 academic year, Gardner began writing his book, “Black Print Unbound: ‘The Christian Recorder,’ African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” The book closely examines weekly newspapers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Civil War era.

Gardner has also authored a book titled “Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature,” which won the 2010 Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize and was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.  His works have also appeared in prominent literary journals such as American Literary History, Legacy, and African American Review.

This Lunch and Learn event will begin at noon and the event is free after paid admission to the museum which is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. Guests are permitted to bring their own lunch but some refreshments will be provided. For more information, call the Castle Museum at (989)752-2861. 

February 22, 2017

SVSU honored by Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce for community engagement

Saginaw Valley State University received the Corporate Community Service Award from the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Saturday, Feb. 11.

The award is given to organizations that have made notable contributions to the quality of life in Saginaw County through involvement in community programs, partnerships with community and public sector groups, philanthropic efforts, and a well-documented commitment to corporate citizenship.

SVSU was nominated for the award by The Dow Chemical Company for strong community engagement efforts including the continued success of Battle of the Valleys to support local nonprofit agencies; the Business, Art, Theater and Sociology Revive Urban Communities (BATS) Program's contributions to the City of Saginaw; the introduction of The Dow-SVSU Mobile Research Lab to area K-12 schools; the creation of the Saginaw Urban and Civic Partnership Scholarship; and the ongoing partnerships with organizations such as The United Way of Saginaw County, The Saginaw Community Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.

SVSU President Don Bachand formally accepted the award at the chamber’s annual Chairman’s Ball.

For more information on the award, please visit

February 22, 2017

SVSU to provide additional scholarship support for Bay Commitment students

Saginaw Valley State University will expand its commitment to supporting students and increasing educational attainment in the Great Lakes Bay Region by providing new scholarships for Bay County students who are Bay Commitment scholarship recipients.

Established in 2008 by the Bay Area Community foundation, the Bay Commitment Scholarship seeks to encourage first-generation college students in Bay County to pursue and complete postsecondary education. The program provides $2,000 scholarships for 100 Bay County high school graduates each year during their first year attending Delta College or SVSU; it has awarded over $1.6 million in total scholarships since its inception.

Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, SVSU will provide renewable $1,000 scholarships for Bay Commitment students in their second, third and fourth years attending SVSU.

SVSU also is establishing a mentoring program for Bay Commitment Scholars to support them during their educational experience and encourage timely completion of a degree.

“We know first-generation students have unique needs and often require personalized support to succeed in college, and that even students who are doing well academically can still face challenges financially,” said Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SVSU.

“We want to help these local, hard-working students complete degrees, and ideally pursue a career in our Great Lakes Bay Region. We are committed to doing what we can to increase educational attainment throughout our region, because a well-educated citizenry and workforce benefits us all.”

Eileen Curtis, president and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation, said the new scholarship dollars will be appreciated by students, families and the community.

“We are excited to partner with SVSU on this significant opportunity for our Bay Commitment scholarship recipients,” she said. “SVSU is a leader in higher education. Their support of Bay County students demonstrates their dedication to the people of Bay County and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region.”

Last year, SVSU introduced the Saginaw Urban and Civic Partnership Scholarship to provide financial support to students who reside in the Saginaw Promise Zone.

For more information on scholarship opportunities at SVSU, visit For more information on the Bay Commitment Scholarship, visit

February 21, 2017

SVSU Board approves Master of Social Work program, campus updates

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved adding a Master of Social Work degree program to the curriculum during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Feb. 20.

SVSU expects about 20 students to enroll in the new graduate program when it begins in the 2017 fall semester, and ultimately expects the program to welcome 80 new students each year.

SVSU has one of the largest undergraduate social work programs in Michigan with 440 students majoring in the field this year. In 2015, 94 percent of SVSU social work students passed the international licensing exam on their first try, compared to a 71 percent overall pass rate for everyone who took the same exam in the United States and Canada.

In recent years, roughly 60 percent of SVSU students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work went on to enroll in a Mater of Social Work program at other institutions. SVSU plans to market the new program to its social work graduates, as well as those graduating in programs such as sociology, psychology, criminal justice and health sciences.

The Board also approved two capital projects. The Board authorized spending up to $800,000 for maintenance and various improvements to M.J. Brandimore House, a campus residence hall. The Board also authorized spending up to $525,000 for repair and resurfacing of several campus parking lots and roadways.

In other action, the Board:
•    Appointed a nominating committee for May board elections.
•    Approved granting emeritus status to Ron Trepkowski, who retired in 2016 after serving on University Police for 36 years, including more than a decade as police chief.
•    Approved granting tenure to 18 faculty: Arundhati Bagchi Misra, mathematics; Jennifer Chaytor, chemistry; Kyle Cissell, chemistry; Adam Coughlin, kinesiology; Denise Dedman, social work; Warren Fincher, sociology; Stacie Krupp, accounting; John Lowry, kinesiology; James McEvoy, biology; Rhett Mohler, geography; Rajani Muraleedharan, electrical and computer engineering; Shiva Nadavulakere, management and marketing; Christopher Nakamura, physics; Annamalai Pandian, mechanical engineering; Timothy Rowlands, criminal justice; Rebecca Schlaff, kinesiology; Jason Scott, biology; Yu Zou, electrical and computer engineering.

February 17, 2017

Pianist Trepanier to perform at SVSU

MiJung Trepanier will perform a piano recital Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall at Saginaw Valley State University. The event is free and open to the public.

Trepanier is an independent performer, teacher, and lecturer. She is an accomplished artist and has performed in over four countries, including Bolivia, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United States.

Trepanier has performed solo recitals at the Grove Music Festival, The Global Children Foundation in Steinway Hall, and the opening night at the Michigan Music Teacher Annual Convention. In addition, she played with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra in a performance that was acclaimed by the critics.

The concert will feature selections from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including sonatas by Scarlatti, Chopin and Beethoven.

For more information, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

February 17, 2017

SVSU senior soprano to perform with pianist in concert

Saginaw Valley State University will present a senior recital performance featuring student soprano Heather Seaton, who will be joined in concert by pianist Jason Maurer.

The recital, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.

The performance includes selections from the 17th century to present, featuring artists such as English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, German composer Johannes Brahms, and modern American composer Ben Moore.

Seaton, a music education major, is a member of both the SVSU Concert Choir and Cardinal Singers. Seaton also is a choral scholar at St. John’s Episcopal Church, participates in the Saginaw Choral Society, and co-directs the youth choir at Major Chords for Minors.

Maurer, a staff accompanist at SVSU, joins vocal music majors for their studio lessons, recitals and juries. He serves as an organist and pianist at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Saginaw and Christ Lutheran Church in Reese.

For more information about the concert, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

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