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December 11, 2020

SVSU's Battle of the Valleys rivalry back on as GVSU returns to fundraising competition

A longstanding Saginaw Valley State University fundraising tradition – which has raised $691,260 to support community-minded causes – will return to its competitive roots in 2021. 
 
The student governments of SVSU and Grand Valley State University recently voted to reinstate GVSU as a partner in the student-run Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition beginning next year. SVSU students continued the week-long event without the competitive element after GVSU withdrew two years ago. 
 
Student leaders say the renewed rivalry will energize the fundraiser, which typically is scheduled each fall during the week leading up to the universities’ football matchup. Olivia Nelson, the SVSU student who served as the Battle of the Valleys chairperson this year, said GVSU’s return will re-insert a critical ingredient to the event. 
 
“The dynamic of Battle of the Valleys with and without a competitor is an entirely different ballgame,” said Nelson, a psychology major from Highland. “While it is still so fun to give charitably without the presence of a competitor, the addition of some friendly competition is definitely an incentive to go the extra mile.” 
 
SVSU and GVSU founded the competition in 2003. Until GVSU exited the event, the two universities raised $652,385, with SVSU students responsible for $425,657 of that total. 
 
SVSU students collected $38,875 without the competitive element during the last two years, including $18,573 last month for Bay Area Women’s Shelter. 
 
When GVSU last participated in the competition in 2018, SVSU raised $36,210 for the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network while GVSU collected $14,915 for the university’s Replenish Student Food Pantry fund. 
 
“The reinstatement of Battle of the Valleys is overwhelmingly exciting because it will promote an enriched philanthropic spirit throughout both the Cardinal and Laker families,” said Nelson, referring to the SVSU and GVSU communities, respectively. 
 
“The re-introduction of the competitive component is a strong catalyst for more funds to be raised to benefit each of our communities.” 
 
For Battle of the Valleys, students at both universities select nonprofits from their respective regions to receive the collected funds. The money raised benefits both nonprofits regardless of which university raises the most money, although the top-earning campus community receives at least a year-long possession of a trophy affectionately named Victoria. Victoria has remained at SVSU since 2008.