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Community Outreach

SVSU students, faculty, and staff participate in key projects that improve the community and the quality of life for its residents.

'Giving Back' Part of Who We Are

The Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation is the ultimate validation that SVSU’s culture of ‘giving back’ is at all levels of the organization, and that we provide meaningful ‘real world’ learning experiences for our students.


Some 577 students contributed almost 8,500 hours of community service performing everything from cleaning parks to tutoring (2012/13).
Two on campus living communities, Living Leadership and Cardinals in Action, are desirable for incoming and returning students who desire to participate in community service projects and make community service an integrated part of life.
In the 2013/14 academic year, 5,133 students participated in service learning courses, or 42 percent.

Alternative Breaks

The SVSU Alternative Break program offers opportunities for students to learn about an important social issue and then travel to another state or country, to provide service relating to that particular issue. SVSU Alternative Breaks is a student-run, student-led program provided by SVSU Student Life Center. As a drug and alcohol-free program, it offers college students an "alternative" to the traditional university break.

For more information please visit

SVSU Center for Community Writing

The SVSU Center for Community Writing works to build community through various writing initiatives, connecting SVSU with the larger Great Lakes Bay Region to promote the skill and craft of writing. To that end, they offer community writing centers where writers of any age can get individual feedback on their writing; creative writing groups held in various locations throughout the region; teacher workshops and classes helping to develop the teaching of writing in our K-12 schools; poetry slams, writing contests, and other writing-related events; and Still Life, an annual literary arts journal featuring our community writers.

Cardinal Kids Club

The Cardinal Kids Club is a program sponsored by the Saginaw Valley State University Department of Athletics.  The intent of the program is to bring the families with young children in the Great Lakes Bay Region to the campus of SVSU to engage in the Cardinal Athletics experience.  Members will be exposed to not only the athletic contests and discounts on camps, but they will also have opportunities to directly interact with athletes, coaches and the Cardinal mascot throughout the year in a variety of capacities. 

Visit this link for online registration and to view the 2019-20 calendar of events!

OLLI Extends Community Outreach

The SVSU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is a member-based organization that offers non-credit educational programs & travel opportunities for the over-50 population.  OLLI is one of six entities under SVSU’s Center for Business and Economic Development. This Center coordinates community engagement activities that improve the region’s economy by providing technical support for local businesses, personal/professional development opportunities, programs/services for the manufacturing sector, and commercialization of ideas/inventions. Other entities include: Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center; Continuing Education Office; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; Career Services; Independent Testing Laboratory; and Saginaw Valley Research and Development Corporation.


SVSU's OLLI program continues to grow, and has 1,600 members.
SVSU was the first university in Michigan to receive the designation as a Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) from the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2005.

Youth Leadership Training

SVSU’s Great Lakes Regional Youth Leadership Institute is an academic year-long community outreach program that provides leadership training for high school students from diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds and SVSU student mentors so they acquire the skills necessary to lead community improvement projects.  It is funded by several regional partners, including United Way and Salvation Army. 


In 2013, SVSU received the Higher Education in Diversity award from “INSIGHT Into Diversity” for “exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives” to groups based on gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status, sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.  Of noteworthy citation was the award’s acknowledgment of SVSU’s Inclusion Advocate Program (IAP), the formal diversity training SVSU offers faculty and staff who are part of search-hiring committees. The purpose of the IAP is to advance the University’s strategic goal of “promoting a diverse faculty and staff.”

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Saginaw Valley State University


SVSU students and faculty participate in key projects that improve the community and the quality of life for its residents.

Saginaw Valley State University