President spends night in Courtyard for 'Battle'
October 17, 2005 —
At 3:45 in the morning, most students would assume SVSU President Eric R. Gilbertson would be at home sound asleep. No student would expect to step outside in the early morning and see Gilbertson camped out in the campus courtyard, but that is just what students did see Wednesday night.
The tradition started two years ago, during the first Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition, when Gilbertson agreed to show his "red pride" by sitting outside all night if the fundraising total, up to that point, had reached its goal.
Starting Wednesday night at 11 p.m. and continuing on into Thursday morning until 5 a.m., Gilbertson, with a faithful group of students at his side, took part in this tradition for the third year, having met this year's $4,000 goal.
The original concept of the fund-raiser was for Gilbertson to sit in a rocking chair by himself all night, but students decided to surprise him by setting up a fully functional living room outside. This year it came complete with a TV, couch, chairs, paper lanterns, and students for company.
Gilbertson spent his time getting to know students, watching movies like Napoleon Dynamite and Pirates of the Caribbean, talking about the university and its history, and discussing current events. He also brought along his dog Scout.
"The night on campus is always fun and always instructive," he said. "I am still amazed at how nocturnal our students' lives really are. People are walking around, studying, talking, playing catch, whatever, at 3 a.m. Go figure."
Those spending the night with Gilbertson enjoyed it as well.
"I think it is a great annual event, and a lot of fun," said Andy Suszek, Student Association Speaker of the House. "It really gives students a chance to connect with the administration,"
"I'll keep on doing this as long as SA raises the money for Battle of the Valleys," Gilbertson added.