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March 1, 2016

SVSU Relay For Life raises $37K

Saginaw Valley State University students, faculty and staff raised $37,000 for the American Cancer Society during SVSU’s annual Relay For Life. The campus event is organized by SVSU’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer.

SVSU’s Relay For Life event featured student groups — including cancer survivors — raising funds from 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 to 2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 in SVSU’s Ryder Center. The event featured activities, games and a silent auction.

Relay for Life is considered the world’s largest fundraising event to fight cancer. Over 4 million people participated in 6,000 events globally in 2015.

Relay for Life events feature participants taking turns walking or running around a track while also raising money through various methods including silent auctions and competition-based fundraising.

The funds raised support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to fund groundbreaking cancer research, provide information and critical services for people with cancer.

February 29, 2016

SVSU students assisting Village of Chesaning with marketing

A community-minded marketing class at Saginaw Valley State University hopes to help the Village of Chesaning reinvent public perception.

After the loss of the popular Chesaning Showboat Festival in 2013, leaders in the small town located in largely rural in southwestern Saginaw County are hoping to strengthen the village's image.

Gary L. Clark, SVSU professor of marketing, and 26 students in his marketing research course plan to provide a blueprint that empowers the community of about 2,000 residents.

“The Village of Chesaning is primarily interested in four things,” Clark said. “What is their current image, how can they increase their population, what does their population want to be offered that the village council can provide, and how should they brand Chesaning?”

The collaboration began when Chesaning Village Administrator Troy Feltman sought out Clark, whose previous classes have led marketing-related projects for approximately 130 businesses and organizations.

“The reason the village engaged the marketing class was to help us with a branding process we're going through,” Feltman said. “We're trying to create a new identity for the community.”

Students will survey the community's residents, teachers, municipal leaders, business owners and members of the Chesaning Chamber of Commerce.

At the end of the semester in April, Clark and his class will present their findings to Feltman, who will then decide what to do with the information.

“We will give them data on what the surveyed people think, and they will make their data-driven decisions,” Clark said. “We will suggest certain things they should do, but they'll have to make their own decisions based on the information.”

Zackary Gibson, a marketing major from Davison, has enrolled in several classes with Clark that worked on marketing projects with other organizations. Gibson said collaborating with a community such as Chesaning has presented a unique challenge not put forth by the companies and organizations they've worked with in the past.

“It's going to be a challenge,” he said.  “We're used to businesses, where it's easy to look at what your strengths and weaknesses are. But, with a community, there are so many things you can do. You can deal with the council, the school system, the downtown, the businesses or the residents.”

Brittany Lentz, a communication major from Applegate, has been a part of the website analysis team that compares Chesaning to other communities of similar size to see where the village measures up. This process includes comparing municipal websites, school systems and opportunities for growth.

For Lentz and her classmates, the project offers a hands-on learning experience that will strengthen their résumés.

“It's really good real-world experience,” Lentz said. “The assignments you do apply to real-world jobs.”

Gibson echoed his classmate's sentiment. He said students will not only know how to do a job, but they'll be able to show it as well.

“As a marketing student, this real-world experience is something I can discuss in a job interview,” he said. “You have something tangible you can take into an interview. This is something you can't get from other classes because it's beyond theory. You've applied it, and that's what employers really like.”

February 26, 2016

Important Information for Pearson Users

By Joe Wojtkiewicz

For individuals using Pearson products that require a username and password, Pearson stores passwords in plaintext. This means that if you forget your password and request that it be sent to you, it is sent unencrypted without protection. If this email were to get hijacked in transit, or if someone were to read it, your information could be compromised.

If you are using any of the Pearson tools, DO NOT use the same password as your other accounts, such as your SVSU account, bank account, etc. Again, if the email is compromised, that information could be used to access other accounts that may share that password. It is suggested that you change your Pearson online passwords to something unique for that site.

V for Vendetta character

Image courtesy of Pixabay

February 24, 2016

Historian to talk race, gender, ghosts during SVSU seminar

An award-winning author and historian will discuss her study of race and gender in southern ghost tours during a Saginaw Valley State University event.


Tiya Miles will serve as the guest speaker during SVSU’s Barstow Humanities Seminar Tuesday, March 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the university’s Curtiss Hall Banquet Room A. The event is free and open to the public.


The event is titled “Ghost Tourism and the Specter of Slavery in New Orleans.”


Miles is a professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of American Culture, Department of Afro-American and African Studies, Department of History, Department of Women Studies, and Native American Studies Program.


She is the author of several history books including “Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era” in 2015.


Her other work includes “Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom” from 2005 and “The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story” from 2010.


Miles also writes fiction, academic articles on indigenous women’s history, and feminist essays.


Her debut fictional novel, “The Cherokee Rose,” was set on a haunted plantation in the Cherokee territory of modern-day Georgia. Publishers Weekly selected the novel as the Pick Of The Week in 2015.


For more information on the event, contact SVSU at (989) 964-2103 or email


February 23, 2016

SVSU Intercultural Night to feature ‘Olympics’ theme, showcase talent from across the globe

Saginaw Valley State University will host its 15th annual Intercultural Night Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

Thirty international students from more than 10 nations will perform songs, dances, and skits that showcase their respective cultures. Nations to be represented include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United States.

“The audience can expect to be entertained by the variety of talents and cultures displayed by SVSU students from all around the world,” said Pat Shelley, SVSU's international student advisor.

SVSU’s International Students Club selected “Olympics” as the theme for this year’s event, since Brazil is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics later this year. The major sporting event brings performers from many countries together, similar to Intercultural night.

The night will feature singing, instrumental music, dancing, skits, costumes, and cultural information from over a dozen different countries. Many of the students will be dressed according to customs of their homeland.

“The purpose of SVSU having international students is not only to provide educational opportunity, but also to enrich the campus with an international flavor through global awareness,” Shelley said. “This is one way we do that.”

Admission is $10 for the general public and free for students with their ID card. Tickets may be reserved in advance through the SVSU Box Office at (989) 964-4261.

February 22, 2016

Bay City Handy students to visit SVSU for Day of Writing

Bay City Handy students to visit SVSU for Day of Writing
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23
Zahnow Library, other buildings, SVSU

Some 30 students from Handy Middle School in Bay City are scheduled to visit SVSU Tuesday, Feb. 23 as part of a “Day of Writing” event intended to reinforce the importance and value of writing.

SVSU English faculty and others will lead sessions on writing activities for the students, starting around 10 a.m. in room 111 of Zahnow Library.

In addition to the writing workshops, the visiting students will receive a campus tour, as SVSU collaborates with leaders of Bay City Public Schools as they seek to encourage students to seriously consider higher education opportunities.

February 22, 2016

Survivor determined to beat cancer, joins fellow students at SVSU’s Relay for Life

With a clean bill of health, Olivia Hawley plans to showcase what perseverance looks like when she participates in Saginaw Valley State University’s annual Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society Friday‌, Feb. 26.

For Hawley, a sophomore who plans to graduate with a bachelor's degree in nursing in May 2019‌, health wasn't always a given.

She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma while a senior at South Lyon East High School in 2012. She began chemotherapy sessions the same week she received her diploma.

“Then I was in remission for a year and a half before I relapsed in 2014,” she said.

With Stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma – the most advanced stage – Hawley dropped out of classes at the university she had been attending. She received more chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and radiation treatment.

“I'm healthy now,” she said. “So far, so good.”

Hawley, who re-started her college life by enrolling at SVSU in fall 2015, plans to share her story of endurance at the university's Relay For Life event, scheduled from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ryder Center.

She also will lead participating cancer survivors in the fundraiser's “Survivors Lap” at 7 p.m.

“I've been involved in Relay For Life near South Lyon for six or seven years, before I was diagnosed,” she said. “One of my best friends had cancer, and that's why I became involved originally. When I got sick, I started my own Relay For Life team.”

The fundraiser now carries additional importance because Hawley's grandmother recently died of ovarian cancer.

“It's for such a good cause,” Hawley said of Relay For Life. “And it's fun, too.”

Relay For Life is considered the world's largest fundraising event to fight cancer. Over 4 million people participated in 6,000 events globally in 2015.

At SVSU, Relay For Life events feature participants taking turns walking or running around a track while also collecting funds through various methods including silent auctions and competition-based fundraising.

The money raised supports the American Cancer Society's efforts to fund groundbreaking cancer research, provide information and critical services for people with cancer.

“It's an extreme honor to be part of this event,” Hawley said.

February 22, 2016

SVSU students take home three first-place finishes at forensics competition

Saginaw Valley State University students delivered an inspired performance at a recent intercollegiate speech tournament, showing themselves to be among the top college public speakers and debaters in Michigan.

Three students won their respective categories and have qualified for the national competition.

Erik Breidinger, a communications major from Auburn, took home first place in the informative event with a speech on the topic of Nano Drones. Melinda Dinninger, a communications major from Saginaw, captured first place in the persuasion event. Baron McBride, a communications major from Waterford, finished first in the impromptu event.

Overall, SVSU placed third at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament at Hillsdale College Saturday, Feb. 13.

SVSU has empowered students to enjoy such opportunities, having started the forensics program in 2001 through funding provided by a grant from the SVSU Foundation. Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, serves as the team’s adviser.

Rishawnda Archie, a criminal justice major from Detroit, also placed well for SVSU, finishing fifth in the impromptu event. Dinniger followed her first place finish with a fifth place showing in the informative event.

Each tournament includes events from three genres: platform/public address, limited preparation and oral interpretation.

Students participating in the impromptu category are presented with prompts typically in the form of a famous quotation or political cartoon, and are then given 90 seconds to write a four and a half minute speech. Participants in the informative and persuasion categories are required to give a speech over a recent topic, citing 8-15 sources and with full memorization.

Breidinger, Dinninger, and McBride, the SVSU winners, will compete in the 2016 national championship tournament held April 14-18 at Ball State University in Indiana.

In December, SVSU’s forensics team placed third at the fall Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament at Oakland University. The next state tournament will be at Eastern Michigan University March 11-12. There are currently 15 college and university forensics programs in Michigan.

February 18, 2016

SVSU theatre to perform 'Terra Nova,' play based on doomed South Pole expedition

Saginaw Valley State University's Department of Theatre in February will present Ted Tally's play based on a real-life doomed expedition to the South Pole in the early 20th century.

“Terra Nova” will be performed Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 28 in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Wednesday through Saturday will feature 7:30 p.m. productions with a 3 p.m. matinee set for Sunday. Tickets are $13 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.

Steve Erickson, SVSU professor of theater, will direct the play that is set in the winter of 1911-12, when two separate expeditions raced to the bottom of the earth. Only one group returned home alive.

“Terra Nova” follows the story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the English explorer whose expedition arrives in the South Pole only to discover a team of Norwegian explorers arrived days earlier.

The drama is set in the terrain of the Antarctic, where Scott and his crew face the harsh elements of the South Pole. The final tragedy is recounted in a mixture of fantasy and realism, which underlines both the human and epic qualities of their adventure.

The production includes a cast of seven student actors and a set design crew attempting to recreate the South Pole environment. Peggy Mead-Finizio, SVSU assistant professor of theatre, is helping the production by creating lighting effects.

“Each show has different challenges and it is the lighting designer's job to collaborate with the production team to meet these challenges,” she said. “We work hard to hang and circuit the lights, focusing them and put colored lighting gel in them to create atmosphere and spend a great deal of time recording cues into the computerized light board.”

“Terra Nova's” production involves recreating the aurora australis, also known as the southern lights.

“The challenge here is that the southern lights are not stationary and change all sorts of brilliant colors,” Mead-Finizio said. “Lighting itself is best when the audience does not even notice it.”

For more information on "Terra Nova," contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261 or visit‌.

February 17, 2016

Book examining the growth of Islam in Detroit wins SVSU literature award

The winner of the 2015-16 Saginaw Valley State University Stuart D. and Vernice M. Gross Award for Literature is an author of a book tracing the roots of Islam in Detroit.

Sally Howell, associate professor of history at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, received the award and its $1,000 prize.
Her book, "Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past," looks at the development of Muslim communities in Detroit since the first mosque was established in 1893. It analyzes the conflicts between new and established Muslims of 1970s Detroit over various subjects including manner of worship and the embrace of American identities.

Many Muslims, the book points out, came to Detroit after the invention of the assembly line, making the city their home during the auto industrial boom. In her book, Howell connects the phenomenon to current events, arguing that the 1970s view of Islam has influenced how many Americans view the religion today‌.

Howell has been published in multiple journals and was an editor for the book, "Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade," and a co-author of the book, "Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11." She visited the SVSU campus Tuesday‌, Feb. 16 to receive her award.

Established by the late Stuart D. Gross and his wife, Vernice, the Gross Award for Literature is administered by SVSU.  Winners are selected by a panel of judges from SVSU's staff and faculty. Judges this year were M. Patricia Cavanaugh, professor of English; Catherine Curtis, reference librarian; Brad Jarvis, associate professor of history; Beth Johns, electronic resources and reference librarian; and Carlos Ramet, associate dean of the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences.

Employed for many years as a journalist with The Saginaw News, Gross joined the SVSU staff in the school's early years and served in a variety of public affairs roles. He was recognized as a regional historian and published several books. Among his writings are, "Saginaw: A History of the Land and City," "When Timber was King," and "Where There is a Will." Following his retirement from SVSU, Gross wrote and produced a play, "Let's Have Lunch Sometime." He died in 1996; Mrs. Gross, in 2001.

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