Saginaw Valley State University will begin its 13th annual student-led “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition with rival Grand Valley State University Sunday, Nov. 8. The campaign will conclude Friday, Nov. 13, with the winner announced during the football game Saturday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. at GVSU.
SVSU students selected Get Outside For A Healthy Inside, an affiliate of the Saginaw Community Foundation, as the charity partner for this year's competition. All proceeds will go to the second-year organization, whose goal is to increase physical activity in Saginaw, focusing specifically on building parks and maintaining trails.
Get Outside For A Healthy Inside coordinator Sharon Dinse said that she is excited for the possibilities that could come from being this year's charity partner.
“I can't tell you how excited we are,” she said. “We're thrilled because the amount that can be done through this can be amazing.”
SVSU Battle of the Valleys chair Natalie Schneider, a business management major from Saginaw Township, said that she is excited for the opportunity to help build the young organization while aiding the community.
“They are definitely a growing organization, which we're really excited to work with because that means we can work a lot with their foundation,” she said. “They're really focused on creating a family environment within Saginaw through these parks.”
Schneider added that Get Outside For A Healthy Inside was chosen because it relates to students who might not have been as involved in "Battle" in the past.
“We noticed there's a huge direct impact between Saginaw and their organization,” she said. “We haven't done anything lately with physical activity and exercise, and that's what they're about.”
Various events will take place throughout the week to raise money for the competition.
The events will include: a 5k run and kickoff party on Sunday, Nov. 8; a date auction Monday, Nov. 9; the opportunity to throw a pie at an resident assistant on Tuesday, Nov. 10; an intramural sports night on Wednesday, Nov. 11; camping on campus on Thursday, Nov. 12 and a concert headlined by Michigan native and Americas Got Talent finalist Olivia Millerschin at the Dow Event Center at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 before culminating with Saturday's football game against GVSU.
For more details on each event, visit www.svsu.edu/bov. You also may donate online from the website.
SVSU Battle of the Valleys-themed T-shirts and sweatshirts will be sold at each of the events for $10 and $20, respectively, or for $25 if purchased together.
Scheider said that students get excited for “Battle” not only because of the competition with GVSU, but because of the opportunities presented to them throughout the week.
“It's definitely a competition between us and Grand Valley, and that's what drives much of the motivation, but it's also about getting a service learning experience,” she said. “It's definitely about activism and getting involved. One thing that not many students get to do is be a part of a school that raises this much money. It can be extremely rewarding, not just for you but for the organization.”
Since 2003, Battle of the Valleys fundraising has raised $470,257 for various charities and foundations. SVSU has raised $306,792, or about 65 percent of the total, and has out-raised GVSU during nine of the 12 years.
Last year, SVSU raised $32,294 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation, an organization that educates college students on preventative measures for suicide, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.