I was pleased to welcome the governor’s 21st Century Economic Commission to campus today. This was part of a listening tour for commission members to hear from Great Lakes Bay Region business and community leaders from Dow, Nexteer, Michigan Sugar, the Great Lakes Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, and others. It provided a great opportunity to showcase SVSU and speak to our outstanding partnerships with regional employers.
We received encouraging news from our friends in Lansing this week. Governor Snyder recommended a state budget that continues a trend of increased investment in higher education, as well as increases in state-supported financial aid and scholarships. We also are grateful to see common sense applied to tuition restraint language, which previously has been calculated strictly on a percentage basis. This is punitive to universities such as SVSU, because we have exercised tuition restraint for decades and thus have a lower base tuition. We also received the governor’s recommendation to receive capital outlay funds for a building expansion for our College of Business and Management. We will continue to work closely with state legislators to maintain support for these priorities. If you see any of our legislators, please reinforce why these are important to SVSU, our students and our region.
Our Center for Academic Innovation will host the our third annual Teaching Symposium next Friday, Feb. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Curtiss Hall Banquet Room A. A focus will be placed on rethinking current educational trends. Some of the session objectives include exploring why dichotomous thinking jeopardizes student learning, describing when passive learning benefits the learning process, and defending teaching strategies that are counterpoint to modern educational trends. The keynote speaker will be Todd Zakrajsek, associate director of the Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published and presented widely on the topic of effective teaching and student learning. I encourage you to attend. Please contact Debbi Abeare-Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 964-2622 to RSVP.
I would encourage you to visit the new exhibition in the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. There, 40 original photogravure prints from early 20th century photographer and naturalist Edward S. Curtis will be on display through May 20. This exhibition showcases his North American Indian collection, which includes popular images such as “Geronimo” and “Cañon de Chelly – Navaho.” This traveling exhibition is organized by the Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa. It is a stunning collection of art, and I recommend seeing it in person.
I am excited to attend the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Ball this Saturday, Feb. 11. On behalf of all of us, I will accept the chamber’s Corporate Community Service Award. The Dow Chemical Company nominated us for this year’s award for our strong community engagement efforts. These include the continued success of Battle of the Valleys; 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 nonprofits such as The United Way of Saginaw County, The Saginaw Community Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to accept this honor on behalf of everyone who helped us earn this recognition, and works to help improve the quality of life in Saginaw County.
One example of our ongoing community engagement efforts arrives this Friday, Feb. 10, during our annual Relay For Life event from noon to midnight in the Ryder Center. Courtney Franzel, president of our university’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer and coordinator of this event, will join me in delivering the opening remarks for this gathering. Cancer is a disease that has impacted so many lives, and the fight to cure it is a noble cause. Last year, our Relay For Life effort raised $37,000 to combat that fight. This year, Courtney and our student organizers hope to best that with a goal of raising $40,000. Please consider playing a role in helping us reach that goal. If you cannot attend in person, you can donate online at www.relayforlife.org/svsumi.
Another recent example of our community engagement comes courtesy of our university’s collaboration with United Way and 30 nonprofits to form the Midland County Hunger Connections. As the name implies, this initiative aims to feed the hungry. Midland County Hunger Connections will work with programs already engaged in this effort and, eventually, find effective and efficient ways to reach this goal. Our university’s early contribution included conducting a community survey that helped better illuminate Midland County’s needs. I would like to thank everyone who has helped in this cause, led by Brian Thomas, associate professor of sociology.
So many of us are proud of SVSU, so let me take this opportunity to remind you that next week is I Heart SV Week, held in honor of Student Engagement and Philanthropy Month, and led on our campus by Forever Red. There is an excellent lineup of daily events beginning with a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings on Tittabawassee Monday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m. The week caps off during our home basketball games against Northwood Saturday, Feb. 18. The women’s team plays at 4 p.m. and the men’s team plays at 6 p.m. To view the entire calendar of events or to donate, please visit www.svsu.edu/officeofstudentlife/iheartsv/.
Our campus is hosting the GLIAC Championships for swimming and diving through this Saturday, Feb. 11. Our women’s and men’s teams are off to good starts and stood in fourth place after the first day of competition. This is a fine opportunity to showcase our campus, and our aquatics center, which was renovated thanks to a generous gift from the Gerstacker Foundation. The championships also are a boon to the region’s economy, as student-athletes, coaches and families stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants. For updates on the competition, you can visit this GLIAC website. I want to wish our teams continued success. Go Cards!