Our students go to extraordinary lengths to support our university. This week, a group of students, led by Forever Red, has been actively involved in raising funds and generating interest and understanding among students about the importance of philanthropy. They held a “donuts for donors” event to show appreciation to those who support SVSU. They invited recent alumni to return to campus to share their stories of adjusting to life after college. To date, these students have raised more than $4,500 this week. In conjunction with their efforts, the SVSU Foundation conducted a one-day fundraising drive that resulted in more than 200 donors and $23,000. If these students’ passionate support of their fellow students and our university doesn’t inspire you to bring your best effort every day, I don’t know what will. My deepest appreciation to all involved.
If you plan to watch the Super Bowl this weekend – and statistics say most of you will be – a team of SVSU researchers will be critically evaluating the commercials. Rama Yelkur, dean of the College of Business and Management, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the likability of Super Bowl ads. We have put together a video that chronicles how these ads have changed over the decades. (This Sunday’s game is Super Bowl 50.) Since coming to SVSU, she has included students in her research; 10 students will join her on campus Sunday. One of those students, Courtney Seamon, a marketing major from New Lothrop, presented an earlier research paper co-authored with Rama at the Marketing Management Association annual conference in Chicago last March. These are wonderful learning opportunities for our students.
We welcomed a number of high school students to campus last Friday for Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, and they arrived with their spirit of service. Students collected more than 1,575 bottles of water for Genesee STEM Academy, our SVSU charter school in Flint. We also accepted monetary donations from Saginaw Rotary Club, Tri-City Links and Team One Credit Union to support this cause. In addition, these students were introduced to our new mobile research laboratory, which soon will be visiting schools to increase interest in STEM fields. Over lunch, students heard from government and legislative officials who discussed their roles and responsibilities. This institute continues to do important work to expand the thinking of regional students and assist them in sharing their knowledge with their peers.
Our Black History Month events are off to a good start. This week, we welcomed civil rights attorney Jasmine Rand and Lorenzo Pierson, an SVSU alumnus who provides mentorship programs for the youth of the Saginaw County as the founder of Youth Empowerment Solution. We have many more activities planned. You can find information online at www.svsu.edu/calendar/blackhistorymonth/.
I hope these weekly updates help you feel informed about what is happening here. I also hope you will attend the annual State of the University address Thursday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. We have successes to share and challenges to meet, and it is critical that we work together. Please attend as your schedule permits.
Cardinal Athletics is having a banner winter season, including two big basketball wins on the road last night. Our men’s basketball team, and both our men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams are nationally ranked. Our women’s basketball team remains tied for first place, and our men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs have qualified student-athletes for the national meet. This week also marked National Signing Day for our football and soccer programs, and I’m particularly pleased with how many of our future student-athletes are high performers in the classroom. Saturday night, our basketball teams host Northwood; the women play at 6 p.m. and the men follow at 8. They are calling for a “white out,” so please wear your whites and support our basketball programs as you are able. Go Cards!