SVSU raises $13,000, wins 'Battle of the Valleys'
October 17, 2005 —
SVSU was awarded its second consecutive "Battle of the Valleys" trophy after being announced the winner of the third annual event during halftime of Saturday night's football game. The $13,012 raised by SVSU students will be for Hurricane Katrina victims relocated to the mid-Michigan region. Grand Valley raised just over $7,000.
Sponsored by the Student Association, students participated in a number of fund-raising activities throughout the week including bake sales, a bowling night and a faculty and staff dodgeball game.
According to SA President Emily Hammerbacher, the most successful money-raising events were the "Penny War," date auction, and road collections, which each brought in over $1,000.
"The student body was overall pretty receptive and responsive to our programming and what we ended up doing," Hammerbacher said.
Not all of the events were as successful, though. Some of the fund-raising activities failed to raise much money, while the dance marathon was cancelled all together. Hammerbacher and her fellow SA members said they refused to let a few low points distract them from their ultimate cause.
"That's the beauty of 'Battle of the Valleys,'" Hammerbacher said, "because you really don't know what's going to happen each week and you just have to keep going. If you focus on the disappointments, you're not going to reach your goal."
While SA did not meet their $20,000 goal, they were still proud of the fund-raising efforts of the student body during the week, despite its bittersweet culmination. Many students, including SA members, were upset that Grand Valley appeared to give little attention to the battle during the football game this year. The winner was announced during halftime instead of between the third and fourth quarter as in years past. The lack of ceremony was particularly frustrating for SA since they had created a large presentation check and invited a United Way representative to the game to receive it.
"Their lack of a presentation was anticlimactic, given all the work (both universities) did throughout the week," Hammerbacher said. "I think it says something to our sense of pride that we have in the University. Their 22,000 students may be a little more disconnected with what's going on."
Indeed, the schools' enrollments and fund-raising totals say something. SVSU has just under 10,000 students and raised over $13,000. GVSU has an enrollment of over 22,000 and raised just over $7,000.
Despite the lack of recognition, Hammerbacher was ultimately pleased the University was able to help those hurt by Katrina.
"We decided that there were a lot of families coming up to our area," she said. "We wanted to figure out a way to see how we could accomplish something local but still help with Hurricane Katrina."
SVSU President Eric. R. Gilbertson also lent himself to the fund-raising efforts. As he had done before, Gilbertson was again in attendance at many of the events and took part in others. And though he spent the night in the courtyard Wednesday and was shot by paint balls Thursday, he was pleased that SVSU won this year's battle.
"I was so very proud of the SVSU students," he said. "Having spent an entire night on campus and a painful half-hour as a paint ball target for the 'Battle of the Valleys' cause, I certainly hoped we would win."
But like Hammerbacher, Gilbertson was quick to point out the true spirit of the competition.
"But the real winners," he said, "are the folks who will be helped by our students' efforts and everyone's generosity."