Saginaw Valley State University students continued to demonstrate their commitment to support community causes by raising $36,210 in one week during the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition.
The funds will help the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network expand its evidence-based suicide awareness training sessions in the community and on college campuses, said the organization's executive director Barb Smith.
“The funds will allow our organization to grow and build our existing programs throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and statewide that help to promote mental wellness, decrease the numbers of suicides and be here to support those who have lost someone to suicide,” Smith said.
The $36,210 was raised during the annual fundraising competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University. Each year, both institutions select a nonprofit partner, then spend one week collecting donations for those respective organizations.
“It’s very heartwarming to see our student body come together and to spend their time and money to support this cause and to do it for nothing in return except helping others,” said Cheyenne Wilton, a creative writing major from Ortonville and this year’s Battle of the Valleys chairperson.
“Personally, I worked on this for the past six months, so it’s very rewarding to see this level of generosity. It shows we care about what’s going on in our community.”
Craig Voorheis, president of the board of directors for the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network, was impressed by the dedication of SVSU students.
"Not only is the money greatly appreciated, but the awareness and suicide education that took place this past week is monumental. You can't put a price on that,” he said. “We look forward to working with SVSU to continue the awareness and education well beyond ‘battle’ week.”
This year's Battle of the Valleys week began Sunday, Oct. 21 at SVSU with a kickoff celebration featuring food, music and games.
Throughout the week, fundraising activities included a dodgeball tournament, an ice cream social and a bowling night at Stardust Lanes in Saginaw Township.
The winner of the competition was announced Saturday, Oct. 27 during halftime of the football game between SVSU and GVSU at SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium.
“The greatest moment came when I walked onto the SVSU football field with many of the SVSU students and fans that were supporting us,” Smith said. “It brought tears to my eyes to have the opportunity to experience their energy as they anticipated hearing the amount announced, as they had been working hard all week to win this competition for us.”
GVSU students collected $14,915 for their Replenish Student Food Pantry fund, which provides food to their students facing food insecurity.
Between SVSU and GVSU, the universities have raised a combined total of $652,385 since the competition started in 2003. SVSU has contributed $425,657 of that total.
The university raising the largest sum of money during each Battle of the Valleys competition claims ownership of a 3-foot-tall trophy known as "Victoria" until at least the next year's rematch. Victoria has remained at SVSU since 2008. Of the 16 Battle of the Valleys competitions, SVSU students outraised GVSU during 13 of those years.
When looking back on the past week, Smith said she will be forever grateful that the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network was chosen as this year's beneficiary.
“This week definitely demonstrated SVSU is half the size but twice the heart,” Smith said. “I was not only proud, but honored to be with this next generation of young adults who represent our future.”
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting an art gallery exhibition featuring sculptures based on wildlife in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Artist Nicole Banowetz will showcase works based off the organisms found in SVSU's Wetlands Preserve, such as wildflowers, plants, scrubs and trees. Her art will be on display in SVSU’s University Art Gallery from Thursday, Nov. 8 through Friday, Dec. 14.
Nicole Banowetz, is also presenting a lecture on her artistic process Thursday, Nov. 8 from 3 to 4 p.m. in SVSU's Arbury Fine Arts Center room 107 with a reception immediately following from 4 to 6 p.m.
The exhibition and lecture, both free and open to the public, are presented as part of SVSU's 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series, along with support by the Saginaw Community Foundation.
Banowetz currently resides in Denver, where she works professionally in sculpture, installation and education. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in sculpture from Colorado State University, and she has worked internationally in India, Italy, Ireland, England, Germany and Russia.
Banowetz specializes in sewn inflatable sculptures and delicate forms that address vulnerability and struggle. She recently created inflatable sculptures inspired by children's drawings of microorganisms for a residency program at the Denver Children's Museum. These statues were then displayed at the Amsterdam Light Festival for the 2016-17 exhibition year.
Along with her exhibition at SVSU, Banowetz is also installing an permanent inflatable sculpture at the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum in Saginaw.
Saginaw Valley State University's Cardinal Singers and Concert Choir will perform Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.
The program includes a wide range of music, including renditions of Scott Tuttle’s “Red Blue and White,” Tomas Luis de Victoria's “Graduale from Missa Pro Defunctis a 4,” and various other selections.
Kevin Simons, SVSU associate professor of music, will direct the vocal groups. Amanda Stamper will serve as the pianist. Combined, there will be 59 SVSU student vocalists coming together for this performance.
Simons also serves as the director of music and organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Saginaw. He is a board member for the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and a director for the Sewanee Church Music Conference
Stamper is the accompanist for SVSU's Cardinal Singers and Concert Choir. After completing her bachelor's degree in music at SVSU in 2013, Stamper went on to earn a master's degree in collaborative piano from Illinois State University.
The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the SVSU Department of Music at 989-964-4159.
A student leader at Saginaw Valley State University recently has earned a $1,000 leadership scholarship from the Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan.
Marcelina Fulgencio, a social work major from Saginaw, was one of 10 Hispanic students selected from colleges and universities across Michigan to receive this year's Future Leaders Scholarship.
Fulgencio said her scholarship application focused on Hispanic underrepresentation in higher education and her own goals for being a leader at SVSU and in her own community.
“Throughout the U.S., there aren't very many Hispanic students who are in higher education,” Fulgencio said. “It felt good to be a part of that small percentage, and I really try to advocate for the Hispanic community and say that it's important to go into higher education. We all have the potential and all the qualities to earn a college degree. It meant a lot to me.”
The 10 Future Leaders Scholarship awards were presented to the winners during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration put on by the Hispanic Latino Commission on Monday, Oct 15.
The scholarship is open to Hispanic and Latino students in Michigan who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Selection is based on academic performance along with community service and demonstrated leadership skills.
Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a lecture by a nationally recognized attorney, who earned a reputation as one of “the nation's most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors,” according to The New York Times.
“An Evening with Preet Bharara” will feature the attorney in a moderated discussion Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms at SVSU. The event is free and open to the public. Peter Rose-Barry, SVSU's Finkbeiner Endowed Professor of Ethics, will lead the moderated discussion.
Bharara served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York court from 2009-17. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009. Bharara was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate later that year.
While a federal prosecutor, the office secured convictions of numerous insider trading defendants. The Civil Frauds Unit brought a number of significant civil actions alleging financial and health care fraud and collected hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements, including from Deutsche Bank, CitiMortgage, and Bank of America for fraud relating to faulty lending practices.
Under Bharara’s supervision, the office brought a series of significant and systemically revelatory public corruption cases against members of New York City and State governments. .
In 2012, Bharara was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, and appeared on its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He has been profiled in publications such as Bloomberg Markets, The New York Observer and Vanity Fair.
Bharara graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in government and with a J.D. from the Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review. He currently is a member of New York University's School of Law faculty as a distinguished scholar in residence.
Bharara's appearance at SVSU is part of the university's annual Beutler Forum as well as its 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.
For more information on the SVSU 2018-19 Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Series, visit www.svsu.edu/publiclectures/.
“I have laughed hysterically every night of rehearsal and I know what is going to happen next.”
David Rzeszutek expects audiences to join in laughter during the upcoming Saginaw Valley State University theatre production of “The Servant of Two Masters.” He will direct the comedy that hits the stage of SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts Wednesday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 4.
The play, written by Carlo Goldoni, follows the greedy character Truffaldino, who secretly serves two masters in order to keep his belly full. The tale includes mystery, murder, and a wedding that may or may not happen.
Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre, warns viewers that this is not your “average play.”
“There will be audience interaction, participation, and possibly prizes. Imagine the comedy of Jim Carrey meeting the 'sassiness' of Kevin Hart - that's the kind of humor this play is,” he said.
Rzeszutek searched and read over 20 versions of the script before deciding on the funniest fit for SVSU's stage.
The Italian commedia dell'arte - style play (a popular theatrical form that relies on stock characters and improvisation) is set in 1746.
Josh Lloyd, a theatre major from Bay City, said this production is pure comedy.
“If anyone is in need of a laugh or just a good time, come see this show,” said Lloyd, who plays the character of Pantalone.
Another Bay City native and theatre major, Brianne Dolney, plays the part of Beatrice. Dolney said that this play is not like any other she has experienced at SVSU.
“The set is a very unique set. I have never worked with anything like it before.” Dolney said. “We actually build the set as we perform. The play starts with two boxes that we eventually turn into buildings like houses and hotels. It's minimalistic yet purposeful, but all around very unique.”
The show will run at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets cost $13 for the public and $10 for students and attendees over the age of 60.
For more information, visit http://svsu.edu/theatre/showschedule/.
Saginaw Valley State University welcomed campus, community and business leaders to celebrate a $25 million construction project that will enhance business research and education, while also supporting the region's business community through state-of-the-art educational resources and strengthened partnerships with local entrepreneurs.
The groundbreaking ceremony for a planned 38,500-square-foot building expansion to house SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management began at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22. The event was held near the entrance of SVSU's Groening Commons, next to where the addition will be built.
“This building project will provide resources to advance teaching and learning in our business disciplines, and it further reinforces our commitment to graduate outstanding business professionals for the leading employers in our region and our state,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president.
“We would like to thank the state legislators who supported the nearly $10 million in state funding we received for this project, as well as the many alumni and friends who have given generously to create these new opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the business community.”
Bachand joined several speakers for the event. Others included Andrew Bethune, executive director of The SVSU Foundation; Anthony Bowrin, dean of the Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management; John Kaczynski, SVSU director of Governmental Affairs; Morrison Stevens Sr., chairman of Stevens Worldwide Van Lines and a chair of the fundraising campaign supporting the expansion project; and Jenée Velasquez, executive director of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation as well as chair of the SVSU Board of Control.
The namesake of the College of Business & Management, Scott Carmona, also spoke at the groundbreaking. In May, the SVSU alumnus and his family pledged the lead gift for the project's fundraising campaign.
“SVSU equipped me with many of the tools in life that I used to build a successful career in business along with the steadfast support of my wife, Nancy,” said Carmona, the owner of Sunrise National Distributors Inc. and a member of SVSU's Board of Control.
“It is our hope that this newly constructed and renovated building will be an inspiration for the many business students to remain engaged with this wonderful community and to share their time, talent and treasures. Because at SVSU, success is not acquired for its own sake, but for the sake of the people and the places that once lifted you up.”
The expansion project will create additional space to house the academic college's classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. Those elements are spread across SVSU's campus today.
The new space also will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Planners say the upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.
"The opportunities and technologies that will be available when this facility opens in 2020 will be spectacular and will prepare and empower students for many years to come," Carmona said.
The $25 million project is funded in part by a $9.8 million commitment from the State of Michigan. The SVSU Foundation is leading a $15 million fundraising campaign to support the expansion project.
Following the Monday groundbreaking ceremony, a reception will be hosted in SVSU's Curtiss Hall second floor banquet rooms. The banquet rooms also will serve as an alternative site of the groundbreaking ceremony in the event of poor weather conditions.
Cheyenne Wilton is inspired to help her peers. She is familiar with the studies showing suicide as a leading cause of death among her college-aged peers. Suicide rates are on the rise nationwide.
It's a trend she and her classmates at Saginaw Valley State University hope to play a role in reversing when they engage in a week-long, community-minded fundraising competition to benefit suicide awareness and prevention.
“It's really important that we are trained and looking for the signs and that we know how to help and what to do in those situations,” said Wilton, chair of SVSU's Battle of the Valleys fundraiser.
During the annual fundraising competition, students at SVSU and Grand Valley State University capitalize on the schools' football rivalry to see who can raise the most money for each institution's respective selected charity partner. Students will raise the funds during a series of activities scheduled Sunday to Friday, Oct. 21-26.
For SVSU, the student-led effort will support the Barb Smith Suicide and Response Network. The Saginaw-based nonprofit works to prevent suicide, educate communities and provide no-cost, 24/7 aftercare for those affected when prevention is not possible. Students lead a variety of events and activities on campus and in the community throughout the week to generate donations.
The fundraising total will be announced at halftime of the SVSU vs. GVSU football game hosted Saturday, Oct. 27, at Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium.
Wilton, a creative writing major from Ortonville, and other students coordinating the week-long initiative hope to raise $40,000 this year.
Caitlin Coulter, president of the SVSU Student Association, was the chair of last year's Battle of the Valleys effort at SVSU, which netted $32,000 for The Mustard Seed Shelter in Saginaw. The biology major from Clio remains actively involved.
Coulter said she expects a great deal of student interest for this year's competition in part because the football matchup with GVSU that caps off the week will be played at SVSU.
“The whole campus gets involved, and it's great,” Coulter said. “We have been planning since last May. This year especially we have had a lot of alumni involvement and a lot of interest in donating or participating, so that's exciting.”
Battle of the Valleys began in 2003, and over the past 15 years, the contest has generated $601,282 in charitable donations between the two universities. SVSU has contributed $389,444 of that total.
Donations can be made at campus fundraising events or through a donation link on SVSU's Battle of the Valleys website at svsu.edu/battleofthevalleys/makeadonation/ between noon on Oct. 21 and midnight Oct. 26.
Campus and community leaders will gather Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony before construction begins on a $25 million building expansion project at Saginaw Valley State University. The 38,500-square-foot expansion, announced earlier this year, will house SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management when construction is expected to finish in January 2020.
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22 at 11:30 a.m. near the entrance to Groening Commons. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move indoors to the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.
The expansion project will create additional space to house the academic college's classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. The new space also will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Planners say the upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.
Saginaw Valley State University has received additional resources to study environmental conditions in the Saginaw Bay Watershed and improve public health for people living in and visiting communities in the watershed. SVSU faculty, staff and students are performing research aimed at identifying and reducing contamination in regional waterways.
SVSU recently received a $200,000 grant from the Office of Great Lakes, which is a division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, to perform molecular source tracking in the watershed. The research involves tracing the origin of fecal contamination found in the environment to determine whether it originated from humans, cows or other sources.
“This information can potentially be used to eliminate the contamination before it even occurs, which could result in fewer beach closings and safer recreational water,” said Tami Sivy, SVSU professor of chemistry.
Sivy and other SVSU researchers have studied water quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed for several years. She said finding the answers will involve examining DNA markers extracted from bacteria in water samples.
SVSU is home to one of only two laboratories at higher education institutions in Michigan capable of performing such research.
“The Saginaw Bay Watershed has proven to be a bit difficult to do some types of water quality analysis, so they wanted someone to do this who was committed and familiar with the region,” Sivy said.
The study began in August and is expected to extend into February 2019. SVSU faculty and students will test hundreds of water samples collected during summer 2018.
The project is a continuation of earlier SVSU-led research projects examining bacterial contamination in Michigan waterways. The previous research was supported in part by partners including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and is a collaboration with health departments from Bay, Huron and Iosco counties.