I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our students last week as they raised funds for Hidden Harvest to feed the hungry in our Great Lakes Bay Region. Representatives of Student Association and a number of student organizations led fundraisers early in the morning, late at night, and all times in between. SVSU won the Battle of the Valleys competition for the 9th straight year because of their unwavering enthusiasm, and I can tell you that the leaders at Hidden Harvest were thrilled to learn they will be receiving $26,000 to support their cause. Also, a special word of thanks to Wildfire Credit Union and Alpha Media Group for partnering with us to host an all-day radio broadcast and fundraising event last Friday. Our football team gave an inspired effort, as well, before falling in double overtime; our student-athletes exemplified our fighting Cardinal spirit.
Our students win many other competitions, as well. Congratulations to Ashley Boggs, an exercise science major from Linden, who won the Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation Award at the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in Ft. Wayne, Indiana last weekend. There were 57 undergraduate presentations at the conference, so this is quite an honor for Ashley and for all of us. She follows alumni Melissa Jones, who won this award last year, and Valerie Adams, who won the Undergraduate Research Award of Excellence at the same conference. Both are now in graduate school. SVSU is quickly establishing a reputation as a top school in this field. My thanks to faculty Meghan Baruth, Samantha Deere and Becca Schlaaf for empowering our students who presented at the conference. Also, my thanks to another faculty member, Adam Coughlin, who is serving as president of the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine.
On this Veteran’s Day, please join me in thanking all members of the SVSU community who have served in our military. Our freedoms depend upon the commitment of our men and women in uniform. We have received a number of honors that affirm our university as military-friendly, and today we have an ad in a special publication of USA Today (below) to share our commitment to military-affiliated students with their readers. We will include a salute to veterans during the Government Affairs Reception — formerly known as the SVSU PAC Party — tonight (Friday, Nov. 11), from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Cardinal’s Nest Tavern for supporters of our Friends of SVSU political action committee. For more information, visit www.friendsofsvsu.com.
I am eager to attend the thought-provoking play “A Raisin in the Sun,” which will be produced by our theatre department next week. Tommy Wedge, who is directing the play, calls it “one of the best plays of the last 60 years.” The plot follows members of the Younger family as they clash with racial politics — and each other — after being offered a substantial sum of money to sell their home in an effort to ease the anxieties of white neighbors in 1950s Chicago. Donté Green, a theatre major from Detroit, will play the lead, following in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, who was cast in the Broadway production and the 1961 Hollywood film. Showings are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, Nov. 16-19, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. I encourage you to attend as your schedule permits.
We also have concerts over the next several days, starting with a performance by The Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet during the next Rhea Miller Concert Series installment Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The concert, called “A Broken Anthology of Western Music,” will feature selections from the 14th to the 20th century including selections by Mozart and Claude Debussy. Our Concert Choir will perform next Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m., as 39 students vocalists take the stage. Our jazz artist-in-residence Jeff Hall and five visiting musicians will join in concert to play the music of Sonny Rollins Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. All three concerts will be held in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, and should be well worth your time.
Our international students are so eager to share their native cultures with us, and many of them were filled with smiles during the International Food Festival earlier this week. I thoroughly enjoyed attending, and I commend all of you who did, as well. It was a festive event and our students appreciate your genuine support.
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!
First, please join me in expressing appreciation for all members of the Cardinal family who chose to run for public office. A number of alumni were elected this week, including several in our Great Lakes Bay Region, and others in various corners of the state and as far away as Nevada. My congratulations to all. Undoubtedly, you have seen news coverage of the protests that have taken place at a number of college campuses this week. We have recently borne witness to one of the closest and most contentious presidential elections in U.S. history. The campaign rhetoric exposed deep divisions within our state and our nation, and there are wounds to heal and bridges to build. We should be under no illusion that this will come quickly or easily, but each of us can play a part in doing so, if we so choose. That begins by respecting others and making a concerted effort to understand their perspectives. Our students will be taking cues from us and how we conduct ourselves. Let us set an example of civility and respect, and let us seek to learn from one another.