Battling for bragging rights


Katherine West

Trash talking, tweeting and fundraisers abound.

Battle of the Valleys is back.

The annual rivalry between Grand Valley State University and Saginaw Valley State University returns next week with competition on the gridiron, but, more importantly, off the field.

The two universities will enlist the help of students for the annual fundraising competition, as GVSU will support the Laker Children’s Fund and SVSU will sponsor the Get Outside for a Healthy Inside initiative.

Battle of the Valleys, formerly known as BOTV now known as BOV, will start on Nov. 8 and end on Nov. 14 with the football showdown against the Cardinals at Lubbers Stadium.

More important than the football matchup, BOV is an annual fundraising competition that takes place between the GVSU and SVSU communities. Each university chooses a beneficiary for the funds they raise during the week.

Maddie Cleghorn, GVSU student senate president, discussed the fundraising aspect of BOV and GVSU’s charity selection this year.

“The tradition began in 2003, and both communities rally around a charity of their choosing to support with the funds raised during the week,” Cleghorn said. “The money Grand Valley raises this year from Nov. 8 through Nov. 13 will go to the Laker Children’s Fund, which awards grants to organizations and nonprofits in the Kent and Ottawa County communities that work with children.”

All monetary donations will go into this fund. Throughout the year, organizations will be able to apply for grants from the money raised for local children in the form of school supplies, books and other materials.

SVSU will sponsor the Get Outside for a Healthy Inside initiative, an affiliate of the Saginaw Community Foundation, for this year’s competition.

Though this will be the 13th annual BOV, GVSU is making efforts to remain competitive. Despite having lost the fundraising competition for the last seven straight years, Lakers are trying to stay positive and maintain school spirit, said Laker Traditions Team programming chair, Sean O’Melia.

“I think that GVSU stays competitive by having lots of people who are really dedicated to the cause,” O’Melia said. “Once people give all that time and effort, the goal is to get people to see that they’re donating to a valuable cause. In years past, we’ve had some people donate a lot of that time and effort, but this year seems to (have) the most support in a while, and I hope to see it continue to grow.”

Last year, the Cardinals raised $32,000 for suicide awareness and prevention while GVSU raised a significantly lower amount of $7,022 for the Grand Valley Children’s Fund.

“The competitive nature in a fundraising competition should bring out school spirit in people,” O’Melia said. “Everyone should want to beat SVSU.”

The slogan this year is “Go GRAND or Go Home,” and O’Melia encourages students to “go all out” to help bring the fundraising trophy home.

“We’ve done so much at GVSU and everyone at GVSU knows we’re the grandest school,” O’Melia said. “Let’s prove it and get that trophy.”

Though BOV is entering its 13th year, this year’s event has some changes in store.

“We’re working with great partners who are giving us great opportunities at raising lots of money,” O’Melia said. These partners include GVSU campus dining, the Grand Rapid Griffins, Evolve Apartments and others.

“We’ve been working very hard to make this as successful as possible,” O’Melia said.

While the Lakers’ performance on the football field has always been impressive, GVSU has not won the fundraising competition since 2007. That year, Lakers raised $31,382 for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, compared to SVSU’s $20,000 for the City Rescue Mission.

In order to raise the most money possible, GVSU has multiple new events planned for the week, aimed at increasing student engagement.

“Laker Flapjacks” will take place in the Kirkhof Center on Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon, where Lakers can purchase pancakes for $3 a plate. “Capture the Cardinal” will also occur for $3 outside of Kirkhof. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Night at Peppino’s” will take place.

On Nov. 10 in the Kirkhof Center. Laker “celebrities” will take part in Pie Day. Participants will be pied for varying prices of $2 to $5. Also on Nov. 10 is GV’s Got Talent, happening in the Cook-DeWitt Center at 9 p.m.

On Nov. 11, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center, an eating contest will occur. Teams of five may enter for $5.

On Nov. 12, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the lower level of the Kirkhof Center, the Cider Ball Tournament will happen. Cider Ball is a water pong tournament in which people can register with a partner for $5 to win prizes. Students wishing to participate must register online on the BOV website.

All of these fundraising events culminate with the football game against SVSU at 1 p.m. at Lubbers Stadium on Nov. 14.

Week-long events include the T-shirt sales and the raffle. The 2015 BOV shirts are $10, and the 2014 BOV shirts are $5. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $1 for a single ticket and $3 for five. Winners of the raffle prizes will be announced at the end of the week.

All of these events will be put on by the Laker Traditions Team and various partners, including student senate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, GVSU campus dining, Spotlight Productions, Peppino’s, Hello JoRo, GVSU Athletics, Family Fare, the Mack Kite Company, Mottman’s Greenhouse, Celebration Cinema and the Office of Student Life. Additional donations to the Laker Children’s Fund may be made on the BOV website.

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