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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, Nov. 10

Battle of the Valleys Starting Strong

My thanks to everyone who is supporting our students in their annual fundraising competition against their counterparts at Grand Valley this week. We’ve all heard students complain about 8:30 classes, but the students leading our Battle of the Valleys efforts were here at 5 a.m. Monday to welcome ABC 12 for a live broadcast. They even let me join a segment. You’ll see them all week raising funds for the Cory Rivard, Jr. Promise Foundation, which seeks to prevent suicide among college students. Also, a reminder that if you buy tickets for this Friday’s Spirit game, use "SVSU" as the user name and "spirit" as the password when buying online, and a portion of the ticket sales will support this worthy cause. Let’s support our students and let’s keep the “Victoria” trophy where it belongs: in Cardinal Country.

Honors for our Residential Community

As we work to prevail in Battle of the Valleys, we recently competed and won multiple honors at the Great Lakes Association of College and University Residence Halls Conference. Haylie Chamarro, an elementary education major from Oxford, received the Student of the Year Award, while Michele Gunkelman, SVSU director of residential life, received the Hallenbeck Service Award which recognizes a full-time housing or student affairs professional for his/her outstanding continuous service to his/her university community. SVSU also received the award for National Residence Hall Honorary Outstanding Chapter, the highest honor a chapter can obtain from a region. For each of these awards, SVSU was up against colleges and universities from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ontario and Wisconsin. My congratulations to all who represented us well not only at the conference but throughout the year in providing a quality experience for our residential students.

Serving our Military

As our nation observes Veterans Day, I’d like to salute Denise Berry, director of military student affairs, and everyone who gives our military-affiliated students the respect and attention they deserve. Monday, Military Times announced that we made their “Best for Vets” list. This capped a day where I signed SVSU’s commitment to faculty and staff who serve in the National Guard or a reserve unit of the U.S. military; if they are called to active duty, they will return to employment when their tour of duty is complete. This took on added meaning as immediately after I signed the agreement, Aaron Mowen, director of campus recreation and a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, re-enlisted for a three-year term in the Marine reserves.  Mike Major, SVSU director of career services and a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, administered the oath of enlistment. To all who have served in our Armed Forces: thank you.

Roethke Festival

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The SVSU Board of Fellows Theodore Roethke Poetry & Arts Festival has been another success, both for our students and our interaction with the Great Lakes Bay Region. This year's recipient of the Roethke Poetry Prize, author and professor Tim Seibles (pictured with Dr. Steve Erickson who performed the one-man play "First Class"), has been meeting with classes and enriching our students’ education. I have heard positive reports on outreach events in Saginaw and Midland, and I’m sure the jazz concert in Bay City Wednesday night will be equally well-received. 

Students Stop the Clock

If you happened to be having lunch in Marketplace at Doan last Wednesday, you may have observed some students briefly interrupting diners at exactly 12:17 p.m. Their purpose: to let students know that was the precise moment in the academic year when the portion of our budget funded by the State of Michigan is exhausted. As I’ve said more than once, we’re thankful for the increased state appropriation we received this year and hope it starts a trend to restore public support for state universities. At present, about 22 percent of our budget comes from the state. Tuition and fees make up the rest. When I began my SVSU career 36 years ago, that ratio was reversed, and I know students struggled to pay the bills even then. More attention must be focused on this issue. This event was put on by Forever Red, a student group that never ceases to amaze me with all they do to raise awareness and build spirit within the SVSU community. 

Cardinals in Post-season Play

Congratulations to our men’s and women’s soccer teams, who both qualified for the NCAA tournament. This marks the first time in school history both teams have made it in the same season. Both are on the road, but the men play at Northwood at 1 p.m. Sunday, so they are close to home and I know they would appreciate your support. Meanwhile, our volleyball team will be battling the blizzard in the Upper Peninsula as they take on Northern Michigan in GLIAC tournament play Wednesday. Good luck to our football team, too, as they host Grand Valley Saturday. Congratulations to all three teams on qualifying for post-season play and best wishes in your matches. Go Cards!