GVSU looks to end SVSU’s 4-0 run in Battle of the Valleys

Lizzy Balboa

With this year’s seniors having never won the coveted Battle of the Valleys trophy, Grand Valley State University is looking to redeem itself with a win over Saginaw Valley State University, ending the rival school’s 4-0 winning streak.

Since the annual Battle began in 2003, SVSU has won six of the nine competitions and has retained possession of the trophy since 2008. Last year, SVSU more than doubled GVSU’s $12,381 with almost $25,000.

However, both schools have succeeded in advancing the efforts of local and national charities, a welcome victory for all parties. Over the last nine years, the schools have donated a total of $369,637 to charities ranging from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

This year, GVSU’s proceeds will benefit the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. The Student Senate, which mobilizes the GVSU community and organizes fundraising events with the Office of Student Life, voted on the receiving charity last year after three different charities presented their cases to the senate as a whole.

“I think it’s just an amazing cause,” said senator Sarah Hay, who voted for the local foundation and is a co-chair of this year’s Battle. “They really support erasing the stigma and the negative connotation around mental health issues.”

Hay said the Mental Health Foundation was a good choice because students can actually view the results of their fundraising efforts.

“I love that they’re a local charity,” she said. “I think it’s great to support our local efforts.”
Hay and senator Jennie Hlady have been planning the Battle events since the beginning of the semester.

“There is a lot that goes into BOTV,” Hlady said. “More (work) than people realize. Since the start of the school year, I’ve probably spent 2 to 3 hours a week on BOTV. Now as time goes on, it’s more like 6 to 9 hours a week. Maybe even more.”

But Hay recognized that the Student Senate couldn’t win the fight alone. Hay said that despite the Student Senate’s efforts and organization, the Battle could not be successful without the greater student body.

And the students have already begun chipping away at the competition.

The 10th Battle kicked off Saturday with a 5k run and will continue throughout the week with T-shirt sales and various fundraising events, including Tuesday night’s pie-a-senator.

The Student Senate has even recruited local businesses such as Peppino’s Pizza and Boardwalk Subs to donate portions of their proceeds to the GVSU cause. Beginning Nov. 5, Peppino’s is donating 15 percent of patrons’ bills to the Battle when the patrons present a flyer to their servers. On Nov. 9, Boardwalk Subs will donate 15 percent of its gross profits to the Battle.

Students can also contribute by donating a debit dollar when purchasing a meal at any on-campus dining location or sending money to the Student Senate office. Hay said the senate is presently working to develop an online donation site so people in the community and on satellite campuses can donate, as well.

T-shirts can be purchased in Kleiner Commons, the Kirkhof Center and DeVos Center, and all proceeds will go directly to the charity.

Purchasing the T-shirts is the greatest cost of participating in the Battle, Hay said, adding that the senate spent about $3,500 from its budget on T-shirts. The senator said a lot of the other expenses are covered by donations from local organizations.

But the money put into the T-shirts is worth it, as Hay said the sales were pretty successful last year.

Students looking to donate to the cause or purchase T-shirts must do so before the competition ends Nov. 9.

“It really doesn’t take much to give back,” Hlady said. “And if everyone here at GV could give back $1, we would be doing something wonderful for an amazing organization.”

For more information on Battle of the Valleys, visit www.gvsu.edu/battleofthevalleys.
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