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February 12, 2020

'Taste of Soul' festival brings SVSU, community together through food, music

With a mouth-watering menu of “soul food,” Saginaw Valley State University will host its 12th annual “Taste of Soul” food festival Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Marketplace at Doan cafeteria on campus.
“Soul food” staples such as ribs, fried okra, candied yams, and potato salad will be available, along with fan favorites such as Southern pound cake and pecan tarts offered by Mamie Thorns, SVSU's special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs.
As a special annual event, the SVSU Office of Diversity Programs — in collaboration with SVSU's Marketplace at Doan and University Communications — bring together various traditional “soul food” recipes prepared by SVSU faculty and staff, SVSU Dining Services, and local chefs from the Great Lakes Bay Region.
An all-you-can-eat ticket for admission to “A Taste of Soul” costs $9.75. The public is welcomed to attend.
“Come and enjoy a soulful, relaxing, fun-filled event,” Thorns said.
This year, the Black History Month event’s theme is “Celebrating Another Decade in a Soul Food Way.”
The festival will feature culinary guests, the Men and Women of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, who will be preparing entrees and desserts. Founded in 1867, it is the oldest African-American church in Saginaw.
Rev. Dennis Laffoon, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Jordan Edwards, will provide jazz music during the event.
For more information about “A Taste of Soul," call SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs office at (989) 964-4068.
The following foods will be available at the event:
  • Baked chicken
  • Banana pudding
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Candied yams
  • Catfish
  • Coca-Cola Cake
  • Collard greens
  • Corn bread
  • Fried cabbage and bacon
  • Fried chicken wings
  • Fried corn
  • Fried okra
  • Gumbo and white rice
  • Jay’s baked beans
  • Lemon meringue cake
  • Mac and cheese
  • Marbled fudge cake
  • Peach cobbler
  • Pecan tarts
  • Potato salad
  • Red beans and rice
  • Red velvet cake
  • Ribs
  • Rolls
  • Salad bar
  • Smothered pork chops
  • Southern pound cake
  • Southern green beans
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Sweet tea
  • Yellow pound cake


February 11, 2020

After earning more national recognition, SVSU-produced literary art magazine to share latest edition at Saginaw event Thursday

A Saginaw Valley State University-produced literary art magazine, Still Life, was 2-for-2 for its first two issues when it came to earning top recognition from American Scholastic Press Association judges. Now producers of the magazine — which features creative writing and imagery submitted by Bay and Saginaw county residents — are planning a public release party for its the third issue this week.
For its second issue, Still Life recently was announced as one of 114 publications nationally to receive a first-place designation in the magazine category for the American Scholastic Press Association's annual contest. Still Life received the same distinction for its first issue, published in 2017.
“As a writer, you want to know that you’re being heard and that your stories are being told,” said Chris Giroux, the SVSU associate professor of English who serves as the faculty editor of the magazine along with Hideki Kihata, SVSU professor of art, and Helen-Raica Klotz, director of the SVSU Writing Center.
“This award shows that others believe what our writers are saying is meaningful,” Giroux said.
For the third — and latest — issue of Still Life, the publication staff will host a release party Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Saginaw Art Museum, 1126 N. Michigan in Saginaw. The release party also will feature an open mic night for poetry.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Still Life magazine is a publication dedicated to providing Bay and Saginaw county community members an opportunity to share their creativity. The publication — produced yearly by the SVSU Writing Center — features poetry, other creative writing pieces and photography. The publication is intended to capture the essence of the region's people, places and relationships, producers say.
Copies of Still Life can be found at Bay City’s Alice and Jack Wirt Library, Saginaw’s Butman-Fish Branch Library, and SVSU’s Writing Center. The publication also is available digitally at
Originally supported by a grant from the SVSU Center for Academic Innovation, Still Life is generously funded by Saginaw neurologist and author Debasish Mridha.
Although the Still Life submission deadline is July 15 of each year, the publication accepts submissions year-round. 


February 10, 2020

SVSU plans job fair featuring manufacturing and information technology industries

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, Saginaw Valley State University will host its annual Manufacturing and Information Technology Job Fair from noon to 2 p.m. in the first floor hallway of Pioneer Hall.
This employment fair — along with the other seven employment fairs hosted by SVSU's Career Services office — is free and open to the public.
This event is sponsored by Amigo Mobility International, Consumers Energy, Hemlock Semiconductor, Magline and Nexteer Automotive. Over 30 companies are registered to attend including Chemical Bank, Frankenmuth Insurance, MidMichigan Health, Morley and Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans.
Employers are looking to fill internships, co-ops and full-time positions, organizers say.
Thomas Barnikow, SVSU’s interim associate director of Career Services, offered two tips for individuals planning to attend Wednesday:
“No. 1: Prepare your 30-second 'elevator pitch' to deliver to employers when they ask you to tell them about who you are,” Barnikow said.
“No. 2: Research the organizations that will be at the event ahead of time. Employers will ask you what you know about their company and why you are interested in working for them.”
A list of employers expected to attend is available online at
Professional attire is recommended for all attendees.

February 10, 2020

Award-winning author to examine links between border regimes, literature during SVSU talk

An award-winning author will connect the politics of border regimes with contemporary world literature as part of a presentation at Saginaw Valley State University next week.
Angela Naimou, an associate professor of English at Clemson University, will make her presentation Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The presentation, titled “Distressed Futures: Border Regimes and Global Forms of World Literature,” will explore the links between the use — and abuse — of time by border regimes and conceptions of time in literary texts from nations including the U.S. and Mexico. The literary texts explored during the talk will include Sara Uribe’s “Antígona González” from 2012 and Hassan Blasim’s “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes” from 2014.
Naimou herself is an author. Her book from 2015, “Salvage Work: U.S. and Caribbean Literatures Amid the Debris of Legal Personhood,” won the 2016 Book Prize from the Association for the Study of Arts of the Present. The text also earned her a 2015 Honorable Mention for the William Sanders Scarborough Award from the Modern Language Association.
Naimou currently is writing a book on contemporary literature and international migration policies. She also is serving as co-editor of a critical journal, “Diaspora and Literary Studies,” for Cambridge University Press.
Naimou received a Ph.D. as well as a master’s degree in English from Cornell University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan.
Naimou’s appearance is part of SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.
The lecture also is part of SVSU's Barstow Excellence in Teaching Humanities Seminar, which was created to promote excellence in teaching and recognize scholarship in the humanities. The seminar was established through a gift from The Barstow Foundation, which supports education, health and human services agencies and humanitarian causes with emphasis on the greater Midland area.

February 10, 2020

Grants boost small business-supporting state agency housed in SVSU campus

After recently opening a regional branch on Saginaw Valley State University’s campus, a small business-supporting state agency will receive a boost of its own thanks to $196,000 in grant funding from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
The 2-year grant will support the 15 counties serviced by Michigan Small Business Development Center from its SVSU-based branch office.
The new office also recently received a $25,000 grant from the Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority as well as a $20,000 grant from Northeast Michigan Council of Governments.
“We’re grateful to the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation for their generous support,” said J.D. Collins, state director of Michigan Small Business Development Center.
“This is the type of generosity that fuels public-private partnerships and drives regional economic development. The support we receive from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority and Northeast Michigan Council of Governments enables our team to provide high-quality, no-cost business consulting services.”
The support will aid Michigan Small Business Development Center in services that include consulting, training and market research.
Beginning in November, SVSU became home to both the Northeast Michigan and Great Lakes Bay regional offices for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which provides consulting, training and secondary market research for small businesses. The Great Lakes Bay Region-based office previously was located at Delta College.
While operations already have begun at its SVSU headquarters, the Michigan Small Business Development Center staff there will move into the building expansion at the university’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business facility later in the winter academic semester. A $25 million, 38,500-square foot expansion was created in part to support regional business-boosting agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Center.
The SVSU-based Michigan Small Business Development Center office serves small businesses in the counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Saginaw.
In those counties, the Michigan Small Business Development Center in 2018 helped 40 new businesses start, helped create or retain 338 jobs, and generated $5.9 million in new capital investment for small business. In total, 590 small businesses were served by the agency in those 15 counties.
For more information about the Michigan Small Business Development Center office at SVSU, please call (989) 964-4908 or email
About the Michigan Small Business Development Center: The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Services are available through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan Small Business Development Center office by visiting

February 7, 2020

SVSU Recognizes National School Counselor Week

As part of National School Counselor Week, we are recognizing some of our stellar SVSU alumni. Samantha Brunnschweiler is a 2005 Cardinal alumna who inspires and empowers her students at Haslett High School. She earned her B.A. in Special Education from SVSU and then went on to earn her M.A. in School Counseling from CMU. “SVSU’s holistic education program allowed me to gain experiences K-12, which helped to shape the direction that led me to school counseling,” she said.

Her dedication to fostering student success and development fuels her passion for counseling. “One of the many things I enjoy about the school counseling realm is that each day presents itself with a different way to impact students. While a school counselor doesn’t see students on a regular basis like a classroom teacher, the opportunity to celebrate the small successes that can go unnoticed is second to none,” she said.

Brunnschweiler remains connected with her alma mater and continues the legacy of Red Pride. “As a school counselor, my district continues to partner with SVSU. We are grateful for the admission representatives that take the time to help our students,” she said. As a former SVSU student-athlete on the women’s tennis team, her engagement with Cardinal athletics has come full circle as well. Brunnschweiler and her husband coach Haslett’s tennis teams, and one of their former players is a standout 2019 graduate of the current SVSU tennis team.

The ability to help students grow and the challenge of finding the best way to support each individual student keeps Brunnschweiler inspired in her career. “Working as a school counselor requires great flexibility in thinking and approach. There are countless solutions for any given question in this field; however, the challenge is finding which combination of solutions provides the greatest amount of academic and socioeconomic support for a student,” she said. This week we celebrate the hard work and commitment of our dedicated school counselors, especially alumni like Brunnschweiler.  

February 5, 2020

SVSU Black History Month event showcases history of racism and ‘Hateful Things’

The painful and racist legacy of Jim Crow-era America will be on display as part of Saginaw Valley State University Black History Month-themed events featuring historians sharing with the community about the “hateful things” from the nation’s past. 
At the center of that series of events will be guest speaker David Pilgrim, founder of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University. Elements of that museum will be on display as part of a traveling exhibition at SVSU’s Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum that opens prior to Pilgrim’s keynote presentation — titled “Hateful Things” — scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in SVSU’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall.
This presentation , sponsored by the SVSU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, is free and open to the public. 
Jim Crow laws were segregation laws, rules and customs applied after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and continued until the mid-1960s to restrict African-Americans' freedom and wages. The segregation — between blacks and whites — was enforced with signage in parks, public transportation, cemeteries, theaters and restaurants. 
The traveling exhibition at SVSU will be open to the public during a kick-off event Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. in the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. Ken Jolly, SVSU professor of history, will present a brief history of the "Hateful Things" exhibit there. This event also is free and open to the public.  
Then there will be an exhibition reception — titled “Hateful Things: An Evening with Dr. Pilgrim, founder of the Jim Crow Museum” — on Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. There, Pilgrim will sign his book, “Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice.” Free refreshments and a cash bar will be provided. This event, co-sponsored by the SVSU Office of Diversity Programs, is free and open to the public. 
Pilgrim is the founder and director of the Jim Crow Museum, the nation’s largest, publicly accessible collection of racist objects, located at Ferris State University. There, he serves as vice president for diversity and inclusion.
Pilgrim has been featured by media outlets such as NPR, Time, BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times.
For more information about the “Hateful Things” traveling exhibit, go to
A TEDx Talk video featuring Pilgrim discussing the origins of the museum is available at the following URL:

February 3, 2020

On eve of Mardi Gras, SVSU concert to feature New Orleans music influence

Less than three weeks before Mardi Gras, audiences at Saginaw Valley State University concert will hear New Orleans jazz-inspired music when Kanola Band performs on campus.
The group will be performing Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.
The first part of the band's name — “Ka-” — represents its city of origin, Kalamazoo. The rest of the band's name — "-nola" — references New Orleans, Louisiana, a community known for music associated with Mardi Gras.
Knowledgeable in a diverse range of jazz music, Kanola Band engages in styles such as "traditional dixieland," "soulful funk" and "blasting brass band" music.
The Feb. 5 program will feature familiar sounds associated with New Orleans including songs such as “Do You Know What It Mean to Miss New Orleans,” “Bourbon St. Parade” and “Tootie Ma.”
One of Kanola Band's members, woodwind musician Seth Ebersole, is an SVSU artist in residence.
Kanola Band has performed worldwide at venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York, Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The group has recorded and toured with musicians such as Doc Severinsen & His Big Band, Etienne Charles Big Band, Curtis Stigers, The Henry Mancini Institute Jazz Orchestra, Tri-Fi, and Knee Deep Shag.
For more information on the concert and SVSU's music program, call (989) 964-4159 or visit

January 29, 2020

SVSU Braun Fellowship to support research re-examining century-old math theory, stereotypes in environmentalism

Each year, two Saginaw Valley State University faculty members are empowered by the SVSU Braun Fellowship to develop their research and support scholarly pursuits that benefit communities across the globe.
This year, Olivier Heubo-Kwegna, professor of mathematics, and Ross Singer, associate professor of communication, received these grants to help further their respective research projects that explore a nearly century-old math theory as well as gender-based stereotypes in environmentalism.
The Braun Fellowship program awards $37,500 over three years in funding for a research project for each recipient; support that includes funding for research tools, expenses, equipment, and travel.
Heubo-Kwegna’s research will attempt to address a solution within an algebraic theory that has eluded his mathematician peers. That theory, known as “multiplicative ideal theory,” began to take shape in 1930 when well-known German mathematicians Wolfgang Krull, Heinz Prüfer and Emmy Noether first began to work on the ideal systems at the core of the theory. Heubo-Kwegna hopes to address one of the mathematical problems within that theory that concerns complex arrangements of mathematical “rings,” which are structures used in abstract algebra. He hopes his work will help bring an end to a decades-old “open problem.”
"In mathematics, an open problem is any challenging problem that can be stated clearly and unambiguously — and that the research community believes there is a clear solution — but after some years, no one has found the solution," Heubo Kwegna said.
He received his Ph.D. in mathematics at New Mexico State University in 2009.
He joined the SVSU faculty later that year and became an assistant professor of mathematics. Throughout the years, he has published over 19 articles and has been an invited speaker at nine conferences.
Singer’s research will examine the relationship between gender and environmentalism. He plans to explore the ways in which grassroots advocates of environmentalism view the role of gender and feminism in the work they perform. He will utilize his earlier research and pursue new interviews with Midwest environmentalists. With the results, he plans to examine how gender-centric stereotypes about environmentalists — particularly the stereotype that leads some to consider environmentalism as a feminine cause — impacts environmentalism. His study will also examine how environmentalists are challenging such stereotypes.
“One of my goals is to identify communication strategies that nonprofit environmental organizations can use to get people of different gender identities to get involved and work together on societal problems,” Singer said.
Singer received his Ph.D. in communication studies at Bowling Green State University in 2008.
Later that year, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale up until 2012. He joined SVSU the following year and has been featured in peer-reviewed academic journals and edited scholarly chapters 14 times over the last decade.
His research specialty involves public environmental communication strategies and effects; he expects to release a book on the topic this year. Singer also serves as associate editor of Environmental Communication, an international academic journal. Singer’s studies typically explore modern environmentalism’s relationship with other social movements, and how they might best work together.
Both Singer and Heubo-Kwegna plan to present their findings by authoring articles submitted in peer-reviewed academic journals while also presenting the material at scholarly conferences.
Established in 2005, the Braun Fellowship program was created through a $1.5 million endowment from the Saginaw-based Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation. Administered by the Saginaw Community Foundation, the program's purpose is to recognize the exceptional accomplishments and potential of select SVSU faculty and staff. It is named in honor of Ruth and Ted Braun.

January 28, 2020

Book-sharing program set for Saginaw's SVRC Marketplace thanks to SVSU groups

Dedicated to bettering the community, Saginaw Valley State University students and staff will bring a growing-in-popularity book exchange program to a downtown Saginaw destination beginning this week.
The group will unveil a Little Free Library book-sharing box at Saginaw’s SVRC Marketplace, 203 S. Washington, during a ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The box and event will be located in the building’s first-floor lobby facing South Washington. Light refreshments and food from City Café as well as Makin’ Bacon will be served at the ceremony.
The box — which organizers say resembles a bird house with a window — will feature space where patrons can both leave and take books at no cost.
Members of SVSU’s Saginaw Community Writing Center as well as the university’s Richard V. Wolohan Fellowship in Leadership and Service program teamed to organize the installation of the box from Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization created in 2009 that has facilitated the sharing of millions of books globally.
Vincent Flores, a chemistry major from Saginaw and a member of the Wolohan fellowship, said the book-exchange initiative advances the SVSU group’s determination to promote literacy in the community. The Richard V. Wolohan Fellowship in Leadership and Service was established at SVSU to encourage students to demonstrate community leadership.
“Our group is very excited to be doing this project,” Flores said. “It’s nice to take a step back and help others. That’s why I joined the fellowship.”
SVSU’s Saginaw Community Writing Center is operated by the same staff and students that oversee the university’s Bay Community Writing Center, which opened a Little Free Library box in Wenonah Park in Bay City in April 2019. Both community writing centers promote reading and writing across the region.
Students from the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy provided artwork that decorates the Little Free Library box. Members of St. Dominic Parish in Saginaw were among those who donated the first books that will be available in the Little Free Library box.
For more information about Little Free Library, go to
A Facebook page dedicated to Wednesday’s event is available at

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