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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Admissions Open House

A table at the admissions open house.

We enjoyed a very successful Admissions Open House last Saturday, as more than 500 prospective students and their families came to campus for an informative day and ideal weather conditions. My thanks to everyone who participated in this event; your presence was noticed and appreciated. When asked what was the most successful element of the open house, more than 75 percent of survey respondents said it was meeting with and learning from you, our faculty, staff and students during the day. Much work remains to be done – by all of us – but we have strong momentum in our recruiting efforts thus far. Let’s keep it going.

Battle of the Valleys going strong

Battle of the Valleys with trophy 2015

Our students’ energy and enthusiasm is seemingly boundless. This week, members of Student Association and other groups have been working countless hours to raise funds for Hidden Harvest during this year’s Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition. Take Wednesday, for example. They shared their passion on ABC 12's morning show, starting at 5 a.m. I saw it firsthand. That night, as I was returning from Lansing, they were still going strong, having fun during a Price is Right event. If you haven’t purchased your T-shirt or otherwise supported their efforts this week, please do. All of the funds will be used to help the hungry in our Great Lakes Bay Region. Today, our students are joining with representatives of five local radio stations at the Wildfire Credit Union branch on Bay Road for a nine-hour event to encourage the community to support this cause. We should be proud of this inspired and inspiring bunch. For a full list of remaining activities, and the opportunity to donate online up until tonight at midnight, visit

Food pantry supporting students

SVSU food pantry

We have hungry students on our campus, too, and Dawn Iseler, director of auxiliary operations, chairs a steering committee of faculty and staff seeking to implement best practices for our SVSU food pantry. As students shoulder an increasing financial burden following a decade of drastically reduced state support, some struggle to pay their bills and still have food to eat. I am especially pleased to report that Teresa Brechting, a nursing major from Grand Rapids and president of the Student Nurses Association, recently led a food drive to stock our pantry. She and her fellow SNA members made a substantial donation to see that their fellow students don’t go hungry. This kind of neighborly spirit makes SVSU such a welcoming, warm community.

Continuing the Foreign Language Day tradition

Foreign Language Day

One of our longest-lasting annual community events is our Foreign Language Day, hosted by our Department of Modern Foreign Languages since 1976. I enjoyed speaking to hundreds of high school students, teachers and parents, who attended this wonderful event Thursday. Our community’s teens celebrate the language and culture of the world, and they can celebrate it in style at SVSU.

Feast at the International Food Festival next week

‌‌International Food Fest 2015

One of the most enjoyable opportunities to interact with our international students comes next Tuesday, Nov. 8 during the annual International Food Festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Marketplace at Doan. You can enjoy traditional dishes from Bangladesh, China, Costa Rica, France (my personal favorite), and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. Our students work alongside SVSU Dining Services staff to prepare the food, and each year the friendly smiles on their faces make it abundantly clear that they are happy to share a taste of home with all of us. I encourage you to join us. Your taste buds will not regret it.

Donor appreciation event

We Cheer graphic with Coop at football stadium

We are able to do so much because of our wonderful donors who share our institution’s belief in supporting and encouraging our students. Over the years, they have made substantial differences in the lives of our institution by providing funding for so many programs and scholarships. Prior to the Saturday football game, we are hosting an afternoon reception on campus to show our appreciation to our donors and many of our scholarship recipients will be in attendance to express their appreciation personally. We expect around 300 people, and I hope each and every donor knows the significance of their investment in our university and students.

Economic club, Kildee visit

Don Bachand at Great Lakes Bay Economic Club

Among the many resources we provide our region is hosting the Great Lakes Bay Economic Club. Monday we welcomed U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee to the October Luncheon, where he spoke about the importance of government on economics in our region and in our country. These are important discussions on important issues, and I am pleased we are able to provide a forum to facilitate such dialog.

Sports successes

Mens basketball against Michigan State University

What an amazing week we are enjoying for SVSU Athletics. In addition to our annual Battle of the Valleys game vs. GVSU at 3 p.m. Saturday, our GLIAC champion men’s soccer team is hosting the conference tournament on campus; we won our game today against Lake Erie 1-0 on Braddock Field. Next, we compete Sunday at noon against Tiffin for the tournament title. Our volleyball team will attempt to extend the program’s record-setting 10-game winning streak during the final two games of the regular season. We host GVSU at 7 p.m. tonight and Ferris State visits at 1 p.m. Saturday. Last Sunday, the women’s tennis team completed its best season since 2000, finishing tied for 4th during the regular season and 5th at the GLIAC Tournament; they finished 9-5 overall in conference play. While some teams are closing out their seasons, our men’s basketball team competed very well against Michigan State (ranked No. 9 in Division I). MSU won 87-77, but the Cardinals showed they will be a team to reckon with this season, and they will take on another Division I opponent Saturday night when they face Butler. Our swimming and diving teams are in action on the road this weekend, and our cross country teams are competing at the NCAA regional meet in Evansville, Indiana Saturday. The men’s team is currently ranked No. 13 in the nation and in prime position to qualify for nationals with a strong showing. Go Cards!

Government Affairs Reception

Each year, the SVSU community comes together to make contributions to policymakers who demonstrate a commitment to advancing higher education goals through the Friends of SVSU Political Action Committee (PAC). This group helps ensure policymakers in Lansing and Washington are apprised of the university’s legislative priorities. The decisions of these policymakers, after all, directly impact SVSU and its students, staff, faculty and alumni. Please feel free to join us during the Government Affairs Reception — formerly known as the SVSU PAC Party — on Friday, Nov. 11, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Cardinal Nest Tavern. The event is open to Friends of SVSU “members” only, but it’s not difficult to become a supporter. To learn more about becoming a member, go to For questions and to RSVP, you may call Jaime Leyrer at 989-964-4069 or email I hope to see you there.

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