As the campus returns following spring break, we have much important work remaining for the academic year, including the ever-important work of recruiting new students. We are seeing great interest in this Saturday’s Admit Discovery Day where prospective students for the fall 2018 freshman class have an opportunity to learn more about the SVSU family and solidify their college decision. As of today, more than 260 students have registered, which already is 20 more than last year. We expect 600 to 800 total visitors when you include family and friends.
My thanks to the many faculty and staff who have volunteered for this event, as students want to hear from professors in their field of study, and learn about other opportunities on campus. If you would like to get involved or if you have any questions about Admit Discovery Day, please contact Ted Lind, associate director of Admissions, at email@example.com or 989-964-2654.
We are now just one month away from the second FIRST Robotics state tournament to be hosted on our campus. Last year’s event was a great success. We received 55 applications – and already 14 Orientation deposits – from students in the fall 2018 freshman class who had no prior contact with SVSU before last year’s competition. The 7,000 people who visited Ryder Center during FIRST Robotics last year helped generate at least $1 million in spending in the region. We want to build on that success when we host this year’s tournament from Wednesday to Saturday, April 11-14. Over the next month, you will receive updates to inform you on how you can help us repeat that success. Those updates will involve another call for volunteers. We need people to help with tasks including assisting guests as they navigate campus and participate in the competition inside Ryder Center. Once it is finalized, we will also share transportation and parking plans aimed at accommodating students, faculty, staff and visitors during that busy 4-day period. More to come.
This morning, about 100 colleagues and students took time to learn and reflect at the last Cultural Competency session of the academic year with Tyrone Holmes. Holmes reinforced how the university benefits when diversity and cultural differences are accepted and used as a source of added value: greater employee satisfaction, increased success in recruiting diverse students and an overall positive campus climate. We value diversity and inclusivity, and strive to achieve this every day as it is one of our core values. I thank Mamie Thorns, special assistant to the president for diversity programs, for facilitating the important discussions we have had this year with the Cultural Competency sessions.
Our forensics team continues to impress. The group recently competed against seven other teams at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League State Championship at Eastern Michigan. SVSU claimed four of the 11 Top Novice awards. Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland; Jill Castle, a communication major from Standish; Darious Henry, a communication major from Chesterfield; and Jayla Gaskins, a communication major from Detroit, each claimed the honor. Henry also placed second in the prose category; Brickel finished sixth in extemporaneous speaking; and Gaskins placed sixth in dramatic interpretation. Gina Kearly, a communication and theatre education major from Midland, placed seventh in poetry. My continued appreciation to Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, for her fine work advising this program.
We have a group of talented theatre students attending this week’s United States Institute for Theatre Technology convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they will learn more about the professional world of technical theatre. More than 5,000 people from the performing arts community will participate in this conference. The SVSU students attending include Jacob Kaufman, Brittany LaCross, Jennifer Lothian and Amber Tanner. Margaret “Peggy” Mead-Finizio, assistant professor of theatre, also is joining them.
On this week's performing arts calendar is MiJung Trepanier, an adjunct instructor who will perform a solo piano recital. The event is this Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The evening will feature music from 19th-century German composers Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann.
As part of the Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists series, the Chicago-based Q Brothers will perform a hip-hop musical adaptation of the Shakespeare dark comedy, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” This re-imagined play, titled “Q Gents,” is set for next Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The actors also will be visiting theatre classes during their time on campus. The show promises to be entertaining, so I encourage you to attend as your schedule permits.
This week, a random sample of staff and faculty received an email from Modern Think for the latest Great Colleges to Work For survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, April 6. I would encourage those of you who received this email to complete this survey online. It should take 15 to 20 minutes to do so. We are hoping to earn this great distinction for the third consecutive year. The results also give us useful information to help our institution develop as an even greater place to work.
Congratulations to the three members of the men’s track and field team who earned All-American honors after competing in the NCAA Division II championships at Pittsburg State University in Kansas last week. Andrew Mudd and Sam Black both competed in the heptathlon, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively. Noah VanderVeen placed eighth in the high jump competition. All athletes who finished in the top eight of their events earned the All-American accolades from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.
Meanwhile, our swimming and diving teams beginning today are competing in the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Rebeca Martinez will compete in the 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter butterfly events; Lydia Mattar in the 400-meter individual medley as well as the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events; Melanie Soenksen in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events; Amanda Thielen in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events; and Shaun Yap in the 100-meter breaststroke. Amanda, Lydia, Melanie and Alexa Bloom will team up in the 200- and 400-meter medley relays. And Wilhelmina Francisco will participate in the diving national championships.
A number of our spring sports teams returned from spring break competition outside of the state. The baseball team is off to a good start with a record of 11-4 following its trip to Missouri, South Carolina and West Virginia. The softball team hit a rough patch, but they are back in action on the road this weekend, as is the baseball team. Yours truly saw the women’s tennis team claim a victory in Florida over Missouri Western State University; they stay in state for a match against Lawrence Tech on Saturday. Our men’s and women’s golf teams start their spring schedule this weekend, as well, as they host the SVSU Spring Invitational in Lexington, Kentucky. Go Cards!