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March 15, 2017

Five SVSU elementary education majors to attend early childhood conference

Five elementary education majors from Saginaw Valley State University will be presenting at the Early Childhood conference hosted by the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children. The event will take place Thursday through Saturday, April 20-22, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

The conference is the largest gathering of early childhood educators in the state, offering over 200 workshops, two keynote presentations, as well as several learning fairs and exhibits where students and professionals within the field can network and learn.

SVSU student Anna Nowak, of Garden City, will discuss her topic, "20 Ideas I Plan to Steal For My Classroom."

"Experienced teachers often get "stuck" in their own classroom," Nowak said.

"My presentation is going to be about strategies and ideas I have observed that were implemented in my field work experiences and how I would implement them in my future classroom. I want to share these ideas with teachers who might not get the opportunity to see these strategies."

Her fellow elementary education majors will discuss other projects focusing on classroom resourcefulness.

Katelyn Rumsey, of Flushing, will present, "Cooking Up Writers: A Recipe For Early Writing Workshops," which demonstrates different elements needed to conduct a successful writing workshop in an early childhood education classroom setting.

Abigail Lopez, of Saginaw, will contribute to a learning fair during the conference focusing on the implementation of bilingualism in the classroom. Her presentation is called, "More Than Uno, Dos, Très – Incorporating Spanish Into Your Classroom."

Julieann Derra and Rachel Hansen, of Algonac and Saginaw, respectively, will discuss, "Philosophies On Diffusing Conflict In The Classroom." They will speak during the "Interactions and Guidance" portion of the conference.


Beginning Thursday evening and concluding Saturday afternoon, the conference will offer students a chance to demonstrate what they've learned within the teaching program at SVSU while also allowing them to glean knowledge from other early childhood education professionals before taking the next step towards their career goals.

March 15, 2017

SVSU flute concert set for March 30

Saginaw Valley State University's Flute Choir will perform in concert Thursday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU's Founders Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.

Townes Osborn Miller, an instructor of music at SVSU, will direct the choir, which includes SVSU students as well as faculty and community members.

The concert will feature classical selections from historic European musicians such as “Sellenger’s Round” by 17th-century English composer William Byrd, “Rondeau” by 18th-century French composer Francois Couperin, and “Four Bagatelles” by 19th-century German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

For more information, contact Townes Osborn Miller at or the SVSU Department of Music at 989-964-4159.

March 14, 2017

SVSU to host acclaimed graphic designer as part of Dow Visiting Artist series

Saginaw Valley State University will be hosting acclaimed graphic designer Shogo Ota the weekend of Friday, March 24 as part of the Dow Visiting Artist series.

On Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Arbury 159, there will be a poster display opening where Ota will talk through his career progression as well as the development of his own independent design studio.

On Saturday, Ota will serve as the keynote speaker for the "Where the Rubber Meets the Road" American Institute of Graphic Artists Portfolio Review. This talk will be held at 10 a.m. in banquet rooms A and B in Curtiss Hall.

These events are free and open to the public.

Ota's artwork has appeared in renowned publications such as The New York Times, HOW Magazine, STEP Magazine, and Communication Arts. His most recent publication was a feature in the book, "Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World's Great Graphic Designers.”

Originally from Japan, Ota studied art and design at the University of Idaho, where he earned a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

While working for Modern Dog Design Company in Seattle, Ota collaborated with well-known clients such as the Seattle Aquarium, Disney, Live Nation, Chronicle Books and Blue Q. In 2012, Ota founded Tireman Studios, his design company.

Ota has been praised for having a "unique, artsy, wild style," by Lost at E Minor, an online publication that focuses on art and music. His unique style has drawn the attention of Starbucks Coffee, for which he designed a "Green Cup" released for a limited time in November 2016. Other clients of Ota's include Lucky Scooters, Kinatonic Gin, Seven Coffee Roasters, The Growl Store, Magnolia Moonshine, Big Gin and many others.

For more information on his appearance at SVSU, please contact Carlos Ramet, SVSU associate dean of the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, at or 989-964-4062.

March 8, 2017

SVSU Alternative Breaks sends students to volunteer at seven locations across U.S.

Seventy-seven Saginaw Valley State University students are spending their spring break traveling to seven states in order to lend a helping hand as part of the Alternative Breaks program. 

Alternative Breaks is a student-run organization that sends its members to locations across the U.S. to participate in a range of volunteer opportunities during regular school break periods.

SVSU students are on spring break from March 6-12. Divided into seven teams, each group has traveled to a different U.S. city to aid nonprofit organizations.

One Heartland, a nonprofit organization in Willow River, Minnesota, is benefiting from SVSU's Alternative Breaks. Students are working with the group to aid in the development of a safer LGBTQ+ community.


Champion Athletes of the Ozarks, another organization impacted by the Alternative Breaks program, is located in Springfield, Missouri. The group's aim is to help children and adults with disabilities develop life skills while growing their confidence.


Grace Point Alliance, an organization in Buffalo, New York, also is receiving help from SVSU students. They are assisting Grace Point Alliance in helping the homeless community through research and resource distribution.


A Wider Circle in Silver Spring, Maryland is a nonprofit focused on ending poverty by providing supplies as well as a support system for the impoverished. Students are providing assistance in distributing home essentials donated by the community.


In Morgantown, West Virginia, the SVSU Alternative Breaks team is aiding in building affordable homes for local residents. The students are working with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds home for people in need.


Boston, Massachusetts is home to Community Servings Food Heals, a nonprofit that provides food to people ailed by a critical or chronic illness. Students are helping the organization prepare and package meals tailored to the needs of those suffering from illness.


The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, located in New Orleans, works to promote social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. SVSU Alternative Breaks students are assisting with in-service education and community involvement. They also are aiding in tornado cleanup and home restoration.

March 3, 2017

SVSU student’s servant leadership results in Emerging Leader award from YWCA

Saginaw Valley State University student Rebecca “Becks” Meredith has been selected by the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region to receive an Emerging Leader award for her enthusiastic service on campus and in the community.

The award is designated for women between the ages of 18-25 who demonstrate emerging leadership skills and a philosophy of empowerment; it is given to one student from each of four colleges and universities in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

A special education major from Rogers City, Meredith has displayed a passion for extracurricular involvement at SVSU. She serves as a resident assistant in one of SVSU's residence halls; she coordinates service trips for Habitat for Humanity and Alternative Breaks, and she is a dedicated member of Forever Red, a student organization that works to enhance the student experience at SVSU and prepare students for life after college.

Meredith also coaches Little League teams and has taken volunteer-based leadership roles for Relay for Life and Special Olympics.

While Meredith shines academically, posting a 3.87 GPA, she is most inspired by her learning outside the classroom.

“My academic life and accomplishments show a lot of hard work and dedication to that area,” she said. “However, my holistic education means even more because I can take everything I encounter and learn from it in a different, more useful way.”

Meredith’s first volunteer service trip to rural Harlan, Kentucky through SVSU’s Alternative Breaks program made a lasting impression.

“We did everything from volunteering at a senior living facility to making dog houses,” she said. “I didn't know what to expect, and I left that trip with a new sense of appreciation for volunteering and gratitude for the things in my life. It was the first time I had actually seen the direct impact my service could have on someone and the gratitude that comes along with it.”

Meredith later traveled to Orlando, Florida on an Alternative Break to volunteer for A Gift for Teaching, an organization gives school supplies to teachers, who distribute the supplies to their students in need.

“I saw firsthand how important it is for students to have the appropriate supplies they need to truly succeed,” she said. “As a future educator, it was interesting to compare and contrast our school systems here in Michigan to those in Florida. It reinforced that I want to be a teacher and help students.”

Beyond service trips, Meredith also traveled to Italy as part of a study abroad program. She expects to graduate SVSU in May 2018. She will receive her award during the 2017 YWCA Women of Achievement ceremony Wednesday, March 15.

For more information regarding the YWCA Women of Achievement Awards, please visit

March 2, 2017

SVSU partners with United Way of Midland County to research food needs

Saginaw Valley State University is providing expertise to a community-oriented research project aimed at improving access to food for low-income households.

In partnership with the United Way of Midland County, SVSU began a project in late 2015 to evaluate emergency food assistance in Midland County.

“They weren't seeing a whole lot of people coming through the doors, so they were concerned that there was a disparity between the need and people who were actually coming to get some of these services,” said Brian Thomas, SVSU associate professor of sociology.

This led to United Way planting the seed that would become Midland County Hunger Connections, a collaborative project between several nonprofits and SVSU to raise awareness and reduce barriers for those who might fall into the classification of “food insecure.”

According to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity “is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
Many food-insecure households have an income above the U.S. poverty level and struggle to meet the basic needs of their family due to the cost of living.

United Way distributed a survey early in 2016 to gauge the food security needs of the community and how access to such things as food banks, backpack programs and school programs can be improved.

“We had these initial meetings between United Way, and there was a discussion about what would be the best way for SVSU to provide expertise,” Thomas explained. “We decided that we would provide some input as to the survey development and that we would assist with survey analysis.

“There are many families with people who are working low-wage or perhaps seasonal jobs and, even though they are employed, they don't have reliable access to healthy food.  Many of these families met USDA definitions of food insecure.”

Though the survey and analysis portion of this community project has concluded, there is still work to be done. Midland County Hunger Connections will continue to educate families and individuals on how to access available food resources.

Thomas will remain involved with the project moving forward as he currently sits on a subcommittee within the group which will allow him to play an advisory role.

February 28, 2017

SVSU commemorates Black History Month

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting a number of public events throughout Black History Month in 2017.  The public is invited to SVSU throughout the month of February to join the university at its multiple Black History Month events. All events are free of charge and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. The events include:

•    The documentary “Land Grab” will be shown Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the SVSU Student Life Center.‌ The film captures the story of an eccentric finance mogul's dream to create the world's largest urban farm in his hometown of Detroit.  The movie's director, Sean King O'Grady, will be on hand to discuss this intriguing film.

•    Author Lawrence Ross will speak Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. He is the author of “Blackballed,” which explores the present and historical issues of racism on hundreds of American college campuses, and how that ties into today's Black Lives Matter campaign.

•    Ken Jolly, SVSU professor of history, will host an open discussion on higher education today through a lens of ethnic- and gender-centric viewpoints. His talk will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. in the Roberta Allen Reading Room, on the fourth floor of Zanhow Library.

•    SVSU will host its annual “Taste of Soul” luncheon Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Marketplace at Doan cafeteria.‌ The event provides an opportunity for the community to sample various “soul food” recipes prepared by SVSU faculty and staff.  The cost per person is $8.75.

•    SVSU students and others can hear from past Cardinals during “Life After SVSU: an African-American Alumni Panel” Monday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in Curtiss Hall Seminar Room D. The event is an opportunity for current SVSU students to network and engage with notable SVSU alumni about their careers and life after college.

A full calendar of SVSU Black History Month activities is available online. For additional information, please contact SVSU’s Office of Multicultural Services at (989) 964-7090.

February 28, 2017

SVSU seeking charity partner for 2017 Battle of the Valleys competition

Saginaw Valley State University students have shown an incredible community-minded spirit over the past 14 years, raising more than $350,000 to support numerous worthy causes and charitable organizations during the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition.

In 2016, the SVSU community raised $26,000 in one week for Hidden Harvest, an organization that strives to feed those in need in the Great Lakes Bay Region by collecting and redistributing surplus food. The SVSU Student Association hosted a luncheon on campus Friday, Feb. 24 to express appreciation for the many people who volunteered for Battle of the Valleys and to formally present the funds to Samantha McKenzie, president and CEO of Hidden Harvest and an SVSU alumna, and Terry Rock, Hidden Harvest board chair.

The SVSU Student Association is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations interested in serving as SVSU’s charity partner for 2017. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 31.

Each year, SVSU students band together for a week-long charitable fundraising competition with students from Grand Valley State University. Over the past 14 years, the two schools have raised a combined total of $552,150.

For more information or to request an application, please contact Emma Eldred, Battle of the Valleys coordinator, at

The 2017 Battle of the Valleys will take place Sunday, Sept. 24 to Friday, Sept. 29, leading up to the football game Saturday, Sept. 30.

For more information on Battle of the Valleys, please visit

February 24, 2017

SVSU forensics team places second in competition

A Saginaw Valley State University student’s performance helped propel the institution’s forensics team to a second-place finish at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament Feb. 18 at Northwood University.

The top SVSU performer was Gina Kearly, who earned Top Speaker honors and placed first overall in the Programmed Oral Interpretation category. In order to be considered for Top Speaker, students must compete in several events in categories including public address, limited preparation, and oral interpretation.

SVSU’s individual performance results include the following:

  • Codi Aymer, a communication major from Midland, placed fourth in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, placed fourth in the impromptu category.
  • Cody Bromberg, a communication major from Essexville, placed seventh in the impromptu category.
  • Gylian Castle, a communication major from Standish, placed second in the persuasion category.
  • Andrea Garner, a secondary education major from Westland, placed seventh in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Tiler Jewell, a creative writing major from Bay City, placed fourth in the persuasion category.
  • Kearly, a communication and theatre double major from Midland, in addition to Top Speaker, placed first in the programmed oral interpretation category, third in the rhetorical criticism category, fifth in the dramatic interpretation category, and sixth in the impromptu category.
  • Adia Rodgers, a medical laboratory science major from Saginaw, placed third in the persuasion category.

The SVSU forensics team is advised by Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication.

For more information regarding the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament, visit


February 24, 2017

SVSU professor to speak on post-Civil War black families and black print

Eric Gardner, professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University, will speak Tuesday, March 7 at noon at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. The talk will explore post-Civil War memories of slavery and race and the role of black print culture.

This event, part of a presentation series established by the museum in order to bring community members together over discussion of historical topics relating to the Saginaw County area, is titled “‘Information Wanted’: Black Press, Black Families, and American Memory.”

After receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the 2012-13 academic year, Gardner began writing his book, “Black Print Unbound: ‘The Christian Recorder,’ African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.” The book closely examines weekly newspapers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Civil War era.

Gardner has also authored a book titled “Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature,” which won the 2010 Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize and was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.  His works have also appeared in prominent literary journals such as American Literary History, Legacy, and African American Review.

This Lunch and Learn event will begin at noon and the event is free after paid admission to the museum which is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. Guests are permitted to bring their own lunch but some refreshments will be provided. For more information, call the Castle Museum at (989)752-2861. 

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