We have been committed to community engagement for a long time, and will be for many years to come. More and more people outside of SVSU are recognizing the fine work so many of us are doing in this regard. The latest example is the selection of Shantinique Beverly, a recent alumna, as the Michigan Americorps Alum of the Month. A graduate of one of our charter schools, M.L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit, she used her SVSU education to implement programs promoting better health for children through The Salvation Army in Saginaw. This partnership with the United Way of Saginaw County has involved dozens of our students in recent years. Congratulations, Shantinique.
Our Athletic Department – who recently won the GLIAC’s Community Engagement Award – is keeping their momentum. Coaches and student-athletes from several programs (baseball, football, swimming, soccer, tennis, track and field) participated in the National Night Out attended by thousands Tuesday night at the Saginaw Township Soccer complex. By all accounts, we represented ourselves well. If you are involved in community engagement of any kind, I want to be able to brag about the work you’re doing. Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or tag me on Twitter; I’m @SVSUPrez. This outreach and engagement improves our community and enriches students’ learning.
Two students and Elsa Olvera, coordinator of KCP/GEAR UP grant programs in our Multicultural Services office, recently returned from San Francisco, where they attended a conference for the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, which works to increase college access for economically disadvantaged students. Lessons learned there should enhance our GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program and others like it. These opportunities really open students’ eyes, as well. Charnae Keith, a social work major from Redford Township, remarked the conference “reinforced my love for supporting students on the path to success.” Shakira Thomas, a health science major from Flint, said she learned “how to help grow our programs and made me realize I’m part of an amazing team.” We at SVSU long have committed to serving students from a variety of backgrounds and we have a responsibility to provide all students with the tools and support to succeed, and this is one of several examples where we are taking meaningful steps to do so.
One final reminder that the Alumni Association is sponsoring Party on McCarty at the Saginaw Township soccer complex tonight (Thursday, Aug. 6). We also are a sponsor of Friday Night Live in downtown Saginaw tomorrow night, and I will be there. Both are great opportunities for us to visibly demonstrate our support, so I encourage you to attend and wear your Cardinal colors as your schedule permits.
A familiar face returned to campus this week. Matt Wilton has resumed his familiar role as director of dining services. He replaces Tyson Dubay – an SVSU alum – who has accepted a new position within Aramark and who continued the tradition of outstanding service we have come to expect. He leaves with our best wishes and appreciation for a job well done. Campus dining and catering at SVSU is first-rate in every respect, and has been for a long time. Aramark, our dining services partner, recognizes this. That is why Matt has been absent the past few years; he was opening new college accounts for the company, seeking to instill the very high standards we have become known for. We should not take this for granted. Please join me in welcoming Matt and please thank everyone in dining services for the fine work they do on a daily basis.
We are expecting a great turn out for tomorrow’s Cardinal College Day. Our colleagues in Admissions have done a fine job, as more than 300 prospective students have registered. This is about 100 more reservations than last year, which is quite encouraging. They and their families will explore our campus and speak with many of you. My appreciation to all involved with this event. These visitors will be among the first to see new tent cards we have developed and are placing around campus to share a few points of pride and increase awareness of the qualify education we have to offer. As another academic year beckons ever closer, I hope you feel as I do: we have much to be proud of. It’s a great day to be a Cardinal!