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November 8, 2018

At SVSU competition, Pinconning native earns another public speaking contest victory

Inclusion advocacy was the theme of the winning presentation at Saginaw Valley State University’s 29th Sims Public Speaking Contest.

A panel of judges selected Courtney Perrou, a communication major from Pinconning, as the grand prize recipient. She bested 38 competitors at the Nov. 2 event that annually tasks SVSU students with publicly speaking on a topic of their choice.  

Perrou’s presentation addressed the importance of intersectional feminism in tackling challenges faced by women in minority populations.

“At the end of my speech, I talked about how I’m privileged, and I acknowledge that,” she said. “I recognized that, with this platform, I can be an advocate for those who have been silenced.”

She received $400 as part of her grand prize.

The victory marked her second competitive recognition relating to public speaking in recent weeks. Perrou is a member of the SVSU forensics team that participates in public speaking challenges nationally. In October, she earned a second-place prize at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament.

Perrou said her forensics teammates and SVSU professors supported her while she crafted and presented the speech that won the Sims Public Speaking Contest.

"They were my biggest fans there," she said. "Right up until we were speaking, they listened to me recite over and over again. They were literally cheering for me as I exited my rounds."

Perrou and her peers competed over the course of several rounds, eventually leaving six students standing at the finals stage.

Daniel Visnosky, a political science major from Sparta, earned runner-up status and a $250 prize after delivering a speech addressing transgender rights.

Simone Vaughn, a communication major from Saginaw, took third place and a $150 prize with her speech advocating for support for homeless teenagers.

Communication major Alexander Belknap, of Owosso; occupational therapy major Sarah Enge, of Saginaw; and elementary education major Jenny Wisniewski, of Brown City, each received $50 prizes as finalists.

SVSU's annual Sims Public Speaking Contest is sponsored through an endowment funded by Larry and Linda Sims, longtime supporters of the university. Larry Sims serves as president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Saginaw County. Linda Sims is SVSU’s executive director of communications and external affairs, and previously served as chair of the university’s Board of Control.

November 7, 2018

SVSU hosts regional high school students for Foreign Language Day

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome more than 400 high school students from eight regional high schools during the 43rd annual Foreign Language Day at SVSU Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

Hosted by SVSU's Department of Modern Foreign Languages since 1976, the day will feature contests between students performing in categories such as song, dance and skit/musical, all in the languages of French and Spanish. The event also includes an international awareness contest, highlighting the importance of foreign language study for 21st century learners.

Students from the following high schools will participate: Birch Run, Caro, Hemlock, John Glenn, Pinconning, Roscommon, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, and Tawas.

The skit/musical contest is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. The song contest is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. The dance contest is scheduled from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. The international awareness contest takes places from 10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

The event is part of a series of events SVSU is hosting as part of International Education Week.

November 6, 2018

SVSU Board authorizes extending agreement with Aramark

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control agreed to authorize an extension of the university’s campus dining agreement with Aramark during the Board’s regular meeting Monday, Oct. 22.

The current contract with Aramark runs through September 2022. The Board authorized the president and/or vice president for administration and business affairs to execute an extension for a contract period up to September 2032.

The Board also authorized negotiating an extension of the current agreement with Covenant HealthCare to provide medical services to students and the campus community at an on-campus facility owned by the university. The current agreement expires in July 2019. The Board authorized the president and/or vice president for administration and business affairs to execute an extension for up to 10 years.

In other business, the Board:

  • Granted emeritus status to Pat Samolewski, who retired earlier this year after 37 years of service in information technology.
  • Granted emeritus status to Robert Maurovich, who served nearly 15 years as vice president of student services and enrollment management before serving an additional five years as an executive-in-residence before retiring in 2015.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the Vice Chair of the Board to receive and review all Title IX reports with the university president, as may be required by federal or state laws, or university policies.
  • Received and accepted the annual financial audit and federal awards audit for the 2017-18 fiscal year, as audited by Andrews Hooper Pavlik PLC.
  • Approved SVSU’s capital outlay request and five-year capital outlay plan.
  • Approved an investment policy for the SVSU retirement plan; TIAA is the current provider of the plan for faculty and staff.

November 6, 2018

SVSU introduces new speaker series on international topics, starting with focus on Sudan

Saginaw Valley State University's Office of International and Advanced Studies will hold the first event in its new speaker series, The Traveling Tap, Wednesday, Nov. 7  at 5 p.m. at Pierce Road Bar & Grill, located across the street from campus.

This first talk, titled “Off the Beaten Path,” will feature Kate Scott, associate director of International and Advanced Studies and director of SVSU's English Language Program. She will have just returned from a trip to Sudan as an educational ambassador.

Jenna Briggs, senior director of International and Advanced Studies, said the office had been developing the series for months. She said she was inspired by other Michigan colleges who put on similar events around their campuses.

Briggs hopes to foster community engagement through the series, and while she welcomes participation by the campus community, she hopes The Traveling Tap series will appeal to the surrounding community, as well. 

“What we sometimes hear from the community is a perception of academia being inaccessible,” Briggs said. “So, we thought, why not take it off campus? That way we can engage with the community, so they can see that we're super passionate about where our research areas are and where our experience is.”

Future speakers are expected to mostly be SVSU faculty and staff, but some international students have also expressed interest in taking part.

Briggs is in talks with local breweries to host future events in the series, in order to bring speakers into various locales.

The Wednesday, Nov. 7 talk is free to attend, and Pierce Road Bar & Grill will provide free water and soft drinks for guests.

November 6, 2018

International Food Festival on the menu at SVSU Tuesday

A celebration of international culture and cuisine will return to Saginaw Valley State University, which is preparing to host its annual International Food Festival Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The 21st International Food Festival will feature dishes chosen by 13 groups of students from SVSU's International Student Club. The groups represent a different country or region, and each has selected classic dishes from home to share.

The festival is open to the public and will take place in SVSU’s Marketplace at Doan cafeteria. Admission will cost $9.50. 

Food provided by students from Brazil, China, El Salvador, France, India, Japan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Taiwan will be available at the festival. Students from SVSU’s African Student Union also will add items to the menu. For the first time in the festival’s history, Ukrainian and Palestinian cuisine will be available.

Featured dishes include savory entrees such as curry, biryani and sesame chicken as well as sweet favorites including mango lassi, boba milk tea and crêpes.

The festival serves as the centerpiece of SVSU’s recognition of International Education Week, a celebration of international students and educators.

“The food festival is important for the same reason we have international students,” said Pat Shelley, an SVSU international student advisor. “They’re not here just to get their education. They’re here to share their culture, and we benefit from that. It’s part of our education too.”

Shelley helps facilitate the event and coordinates with the Marketplace at Doan staff while the students are responsible for organizing each national group and providing recipes to the staff cooks.

Last year, the food festival served over 2,000 diners.

For more information on the food festival, contact SVSU Dining Services at (989) 964-4252.

November 1, 2018

Governor appoints Lindsay Eggers to SVSU Board of Control

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Lindsay Eggers of Linwood to the Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control Friday, Oct. 26. She replaces Luis Canales, who resigned from the Board over the summer, due to relocating out of state.

“We welcome Lindsay Eggers to our Board and we thank her for her willingness to serve our university and our community in this vital volunteer capacity,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “Lindsay is actively involved in the Great Lakes Bay Region, and she has demonstrated an outstanding business acumen in her professional career. We look forward to working with her to provide more and better opportunities for our students.”

Eggers is the president and chief operating officer for Stevens Worldwide Van Lines in Saginaw. She completed a bachelor's degree in business at the University of Colorado and an M.B.A. at the University of Michigan.

Eggers serves as a board member for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the READ Association of Saginaw, the Bay Area Community Foundation Women's Philanthropy Circle and on the Chemical Bank Advisory Board. She will serve the remainder of an eight-year term expiring July 21, 2025.

November 1, 2018

SVSU welcomes Bay City elementary students for a ‘Passport to the World’

Saginaw Valley State University's English Language Program will host their annual Passport to the World event on Friday, Nov. 2.

Third-grade students from Kolb Elementary School in Bay City will come to SVSU to learn about people and cultures from around the world through a series of performances and activities put on by English Language Program staff and SVSU students.

The day will open at 9:30 in Curtiss Hall, when the elementary students will be welcomed with cultural performances put on by SVSU international students.

After that, the visitors can enjoy a Dia De Los Muertos story time read by an SVSU librarian and an elementary education student, as well as a yoga session led by SVSU kinesiology students.

Next, the students will "travel" to different activity tables to learn about countries around the world and to have their passports stamped by international students. The countries and cultures will include Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine and Korea.

The day of international exploration will wrap up with a tour of the Marshall Fredericks Museum and a clay-sculpting activity.

For more information on Passport to the World, please contact Amy Cook, assistant director of the English Language Program, at or (989) 964-2733.

November 1, 2018

SVSU's Garcia receiving award for educational impact in region

Saginaw Valley State University's Roberto Garcia is being honored for his commitment to supporting students in their quest for higher education. He will receive the Adelante Education Award by the nonprofit La Union Civica Mexicana at the 9th Annual Adelante Awards Saturday, Nov. 3.

The Adelante Awards - "adelante" meaning "forward" in Spanish - celebrate contributions made by Hispanic individuals in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Garcia is the director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at SVSU. The office hosts events, provides resources, and increases the visibility and quality of the educational experience for students, faculty and staff to increase the enrollment, retention and graduation rates for underrepresented populations.

In addition, Garcia is an adjunct instructor of English at SVSU, where he teaches a course on Jay-Z and the history of hip-hop and rap to study how the genre affects society and culture currently.

The Saginaw native completed a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and an education specialist degree at SVSU, and an Ed.D. at Central Michigan University.

The Adelante Awards ceremony will be held at the Dow Event Center on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (989) 274-5074.

November 1, 2018

SVSU welcomes leading expert on children with behavioral challenges

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a public lecture by an author and leading child psychologist. Ross Greene will deliver “Collaborative & Proactive Solutions: Fostering the Better Side of Human Nature in Classrooms and Families,” Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium of Gilbertson Hall.

The lecture will cover information on child psychology important to parents, future educators and anyone with children in their lives. Greene will discuss how positive feelings and behaviors such as honesty, empathy and healthy conflict resolution can be fostered in the classroom and at home.

Greene holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has authored several books on child psychology, including “Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child,” and “Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them.” He is also creator and executive producer of the forthcoming documentary film “The Kids We Lose.”

In his talk, Greene will help parents and educators learn to foster the better side of human nature in children through methods such as proactive and collaborative problem solving and healthy communication.

Greene served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for more than 20 years. He is now on the adjunct faculties of the Virginia Tech psychology department and the University of Technology at Sydney in Australia. He also directs Lives in the Balance, a non-profit that advocates for behaviorally challenging children and their parents, teachers and caregivers and pushes for non-adversarial interventions.   

In addition to his public lecture, Greene is leading a workshop for educators in the Great Lakes Bay Region Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Bullock Creek High School.

The public lecture at SVSU is free of charge and open to the public. For further information, please call (989) 964-7107.

October 30, 2018

SVSU students win 'Battle,' raise $36,000 for suicide awareness and prevention

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.”

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