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November 5, 2020

SVSU student-led fundraiser raises over $18K for Bay Area Women's Center

Olivia NelsonOvercoming logistical challenges presented by the pandemic, Saginaw Valley State University students worked hard to support a regional nonprofit, raising $18,573.46 to help the organization bolster its services preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. 
The SVSU student-run Battle of the Valley fundraiser benefited the Bay Area Women’s Center, an organization that operates in Arenac and Bay counties
While adhering to SVSU’s health and safety guidelines related to the pandemic, students hosted a series of fundraising events from Oct. 18-24 including a date auction, pumpkin-painting event, a pumpkin-smashing event, and a T-shirt sale. SVSU students last week presented the resulting $18,573.46 check to representatives of the Bay Area Women’s Center. 
Olivia Nelson, the student who served as chairperson of the fundraiser organized by SVSU’s student government, said she was thankful for the dedication and support demonstrated by her peers during Battle of the Valley. 
“I have never been more proud of our SVSU community for coming together in the way we did to raise funds for such an important cause,” said Nelson, a psychology major from Highland. 
“In these chaotic times, seeing the level of student engagement at every single event while also witnessing everyone being mindful about keeping themselves and others safe was empowering.” 
Lindsay Maynard Richardson, a 2013 SVSU alumna and director of development at Bay Area Women’s Center, said funding the center has proven difficult this year. Richardson said she was thankful for SVSU students’ support. The $18,573.46 in funds they raised will support the center’s crisis office operations, which includes a 32-bed emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as a 24-hour hotline. 
With the completion of this year’s Battle of the Valley, the annual tradition has provided $670,958 for nonprofits across the state in total since the event was established in 2003. 
The fundraiser began as a competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University before GVSU students backed out of the fall-time tradition last year. SVSU student-led fundraising has accounted for $464,532 of the total funds collected over the years.