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May 17, 2019

United Way event to send SVSU staff ‘Over the Edge’ of a building for a good cause

Two students with Coop the CardinalHeights don’t bother Riley Hupfer much. Growing up, he helped out at his family business, Freeland Bean and Grain Inc., which sometimes meant climbing ladders to the top of nearly 100-foot-tall grain silos.


So the prospect of rappelling 85 feet down the side of a 6-story building is no cause for concern for the assistant director of Saginaw Valley State University’s Center for Community Engagement, he said. In fact, considering it’s a stunt meant to benefit and celebrate one of the region’s most supportive nonprofit organizations, Hupfer can’t wait to get his bird’s eye view of the community he himself loves to bolster.


“It’s going to be a thrill,” Hupfer said of his planned participation in the United Way of Saginaw County’s Over The Edge fundraising event Saturday, June 8, at Covenant HealthCare’s Mackinaw facility in Saginaw Township.


There, participants such as Hupfer — along with two others representing SVSU — plan to rappel down one of Saginaw Township’s tallest structures to raise awareness and funds for United Way of Saginaw County as part of a celebration of the nonprofit’s 100th year as a community booster.


“The opportunity to support such an incredible organization that is celebrating 100 years is something I do not want to miss,” Hupfer said. “We are proud to stand together to support the United Way of Saginaw County’s message. That change does not happen alone.”


Hupfer will represent SVSU along with Bethany Alford; the director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU; and Coop the Cardinal, the university’s mascot. SVSU’s team fundraising goal is $10,000.


Alford, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, said she is looking forward to supporting the fundraiser, particularly because of United Way of Saginaw County’s efforts to connect military veterans with resources in the community.


“Having been on three deployments myself, I know that transitions back into community, higher education or even back into your family can be difficult to navigate,” she said. “When the opportunity arose for me to do something to help the United Way’s cause, I was immediately onboard.”


Over The Edge will feature games and family-friendly entertainment in addition to the rappelling. For more information about the fundraising event or to register to rappel, go to United Way of Saginaw County’s website at


Those interested in supporting SVSU’s team at the fundraiser can click here.