BOTV: where the losers are still winners

Ryan Jarvi

Battle of the Valleys is over, and after counting up all the donated money, Grand Valley State University fell short once again to Saginaw Valley State University, bumping its losing streak up to six years running.

Though the Lakers earned a victory on the football field, SVSU took the fundraising win with its $25,185 effort, which more than doubled GVSU’s $11,137. SVSU has out-fundraised GVSU eight out of the last 11 years that the battle has taken place.

Though his university took the loss, Ricardo Benavidez, GVSU’s Student Senate president, said he was still pleased with the effort.

“The fundraising effort this year was nothing short of amazing,” Benavidez said.“We raised $10,000 more than last year.”

Some of that success could be attributed to the redesigned process and the participation of the Laker Traditions Team.

“The entire process has been overhauled,” Benavidez said. “Instead of assigning BOTV to one or two senators and having them plan the entire week—as was the old practice—the Laker Traditions Team really took the reins and collaborated with the Student Senate. The LTT really did the majority of the leg work for this entire week.”

Alica Arnold from the LTT coordinated the events for the BOTV week, which she started planning months ago.

“Overall I am very happy with how fundraising turned out,” she said. “Numerous people have said this is the most they’ve seen and heard about BOTV. To me, this year was a huge building year for years to come.”

Arnold said she wasn’t sure about plans for next year but was confident that GVSU could double what was raised this year.

All the expenses for BOTV events and T-shirts were covered so that the total funds raised could be donated.

“None of the donations are spent to cover the costs of the fundraising,” Benavidez said. “The way we cover the shirts with the bookstore is that we charge $10 but receive only $6 from each purchase. That covers the taxes and the printing/shipping costs for the shirts.”

This year, GVSU chose to donate to the nonprofit SPORTS (Students Providing Opportunities and Recreation Through Sports), an organization run by GVSU student Tyler Kinch.

“We were not concerned about the amount raised because anything helps,” Kinch said. “The bigger win for us is that our organization has been the huge promotions to so many people over the past couple weeks. So the support from GVSU and all that they have done has really helped us spread the word. To be a mentor to children is something that money cannot purchase, and that has been a huge success for us to have GVSU help spread that idea.”

Kinch said a portion of the money raised will address some internal factors that need to be taken care of to support a future expansion the organization hopes to make.

“After that, the majority of the money is going to go to more camps in the surrounding area,” he said.

Kinch said his most memorable moment of BOTV was during the Jail n’ Bail event.

“It was just very humbling to see so much effort placed into BOTV and to know that everyone was trying to raise money for SPORTS,” he said. “It has been a passion of mine for quite some time now to see this take off, and to just take a moment to step back and see so many people getting involved really made me feel like I was accomplishing my dream.”

One key value of SPORTS is to pay it forward, Kinch said, which is a way for people to help others accomplish their dreams.

“So many people have dreams but they do not act on them for whatever reason is holding them back,” he said. “We should go to bed at night knowing that we did everything we possibly could to live the perfect day, whatever that may be for each individual.”