Battle of the Valleys: A tradition on and off the field

Ella Fritzemeier

Every time students hear the phrase “Battle of the Valleys,” they typically associate it with some kind of sporting event in which Grand Valley State University plays Saginaw Valley State University. Yet, what many students don’t know is that Battle of the Valleys is also an annual week-long charity competition that takes place the week before the GVSU vs SVSU football game.

During this week, each school attempts to the raise the most money possible toward a charity of their choosing. It’s a win-win for both schools, yet GVSU seems to never match the contributions SVSU raises despite our school having more than double the amount of students. SVSU has 9,766 students and GVSU has 25,325 students enrolled for 2016. As a result, GVSU has rarely ever taken home the trophy for Battle of the Valleys fundraising. Let’s change that this year.

This tradition, originating from 2003, helps encourage both universities to be engaged in their communities. The proceeds GVSU raises goes toward the Laker Children’s Fund, an organization that began in 2013. This organization awards grants to various nonprofit organizations in Kent County and Ottawa County communities that promote education and well-being in youth.

This organization is that it is primarily student-led. This allows our fellow Lakers the chance to take on a leadership role, gain vital real-world work experience and become involved in something more important than themselves. In the past, the Laker Children’s Fund has helped donate to organizations including Manna’s Meals, Team Jarod/Team Caleb, the SECOM Resource Center and other organizations focused on helping children.

Yet, we only have so much money to give and nonprofit organizations continue to apply for the money in the Laker Children’s Fund. Thus, it is vital that we raise as much money as possible so that we do not have to turn away many organizations that are doing such great things in our community.

Little do you know, students are already gearing up and planning for this tradition, happening from Sunday, Oct. 30 to Saturday, Nov. 5. This year, Battle of the Valleys is a coalition made up of student senate, the Laker Traditions Team, Greek life, Future Alumni Association, Resident Housing Association and Spotlight Productions, all working together to make this the best year for Battle of the Valleys yet.

We have fun events planned, including a pumpkin 5K, GV’s Got Talent, Mr. Laker Pageant, a Super Smash Bros. tournament, Family Feud, a water pong tournament and more. There are many different opportunities to donate money throughout the week at these fun and exciting events, as well as through an online form.

Even with this great coalition of different groups, we need all students’ help. If every student simply donated $1, we would be able to raise $25,325, benefiting so many organizations dedicated to helping future generations. Be sure to check out the events and do your part to help us defeat the Cardinals in the tradition off the field, while cheering on our team to beat them, as usual, on the field.

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