November 9, 2016

SVSU students’ giving spirit shared at national conference

Saginaw Valley State University recently drew national attention for its students’ dedication to helping their fellow students financially.

Eliza Lanway, a communication major from Gaylord and the current Student Life Program Board coordinator at SVSU, spoke at the National Association for Campus Activities Conference Thursday, Oct. 27 in Covington, Kentucky.

Lanway presented the new and improved program plan for SVSU's annual Streetfest event at the national conference.

Traditionally, Streetfest has been a day of fun for SVSU students to relieve stress as they prepared to take final exams. During Streetfest 2016 this past April, students also raised money to benefit Forever Red's Student Giving Campaign, which ultimately provides scholarships to SVSU students.

Tony Cianciolo, SVSU assistant director for Student Life, said that Lanway was one of the students leading the charge for change.

“Eliza had an immense drive to change SVSU's already very successful Streetfest from a purely entertainment-focused event to adding a whole new side to the event,” he said.

Cianciolo added that Lanway's ultimate goal was to make the event about fundraising for student success.

Program Board reached out to local businesses and other campus organizations seeking sponsorships. Sponsors’ business names and logos were placed on lawn signs as well as Streetfest t-shirts. The idea was to preserve the integrity of the event while also giving it a new purpose.

Because of her involvement in the communication program at SVSU as well as experiential learning through Student Life, Lanway was well-prepared for her speech at the conference.

“I feel a lot more comfortable leading meetings, setting up programs for other people – things like that,” she said. “I really appreciate having those skills now.”

Lanway said she is proud to be a part of what they have accomplished, as she prepares to graduate in December.

“It's super exciting because I'm leaving it in a good place,” she said.

Streetfest 2016 was a trial run of this new structure, and set an ambitious goal of raising $12,000 through sponsorships and advertising. They raised more than $4,000 for student scholarships the first year and will work to build on that amount.

“This is a long-term growth process and that's something I wanted to relay in my presentation,” Lanway said. “We're already in the process of setting up for this year's event and selling a little bit earlier.”