As we prepare to enjoy the holiday weekend, our colleagues in the Office of Military Student Affairs, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum hosted an excellent ceremony Wednesday that reminds us all of the meaning of Memorial Day. The program was very well attended and featured the ceremonial laying of the wreath at the Eaton War Memorial in the museum's outdoor Jo Anne and Donald Peterson Sculpture Garden. My thanks to everyone who helped to organize this event and to those who attended. Let us all cherish the freedoms we enjoy, and on Monday, I encourage you to take a moment to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those freedoms.
We were fortunate to be able to host an outstanding presentation this week, sponsored by our College of Business & Management, Stevens Center for Family Business and the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce. I saw several colleagues – and many community leaders – among the 400 people who heard from Rajendra Sisodia, who with Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey is the author of “Conscious Capitalism - Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.” Their premise is that enterprises should embrace a new concept of capitalism, focusing not only on profit, but on a well-defined purpose which serves all stakeholders, including employees, customers, owners, suppliers and the broader community. Local business leaders Dick Garber of the Garber Automotive Group and Gene Pickelman, co-founder and president of Tri-Star Trust Bank, also spoke on the topic, and I’m pleased to share that our community is forming a Great Lakes Bay Region Chapter of the international organization, Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
It may seem that the new academic year is a long way off, but the summer months are when much important planning for the next year takes place; this includes our students. This week, our Student Association announced the charity partner they have selected for this year’s Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition. Our campus will be raising funds for the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Center (formerly known as Survivors of Suicide), which was founded by Barb Smith almost 30 years ago after her brother lost his life to suicide. The organization is based in Saginaw and has an affiliation with our Department of Nursing, among others. This is an important cause, as suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. My appreciation to Student Association for their thorough review process and committed preparation for this year’s “Battle,” which I have every confidence we will win again.
Another topic receiving attention by our colleagues this summer is sexual assault prevention. We have received a $25,000 grant from the State of Michigan to support our efforts to increase the number of faculty, staff and students who are trained through the Bringing In The Bystander program. The curriculum uses a community responsibility approach that teaches bystanders how to safely intervene in instances where sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking may be occurring or where there may be risk that it will occur. Our goal is to provide training for 1,000 students, faculty and staff during the upcoming academic year. A great many colleagues have worked on this, and I appreciate their commitment to tackling this very important issue.
Our 2017-18 sports season is almost complete, but not before four members of our men’s track and field team compete at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sam Black and Andrew Mudd began competing in the decathlon Thursday. Tom Goforth qualified to race in the 10,000-meter run, and Noah VanderVeen will represent SVSU in the high jump. Each of these student-athletes has achieved All-American status at least once in their careers, and we are hoping to see them add more such honors this weekend. Go Cards!