More than just a football game

Carly Simpson

Over the past 12 years, Grand Valley State University and Saginaw Valley State University have turned their football rivalry into something more than a game of touchdowns and tackles. Through the annual tradition of Battle of the Valleys, the universities have raised more than $350,000 for local and national charities that benefit children.

This year, BOTV begins Nov. 9 and will continue through Nov. 15. Rather than donating to just one charity though, GVSU has created the Children’s Fund to serve the wider needs of the community.

“What we’ve done is established a fund, the Grand Valley Children’s Fund,” said LeAnn Tibbe, with the Office of Student Life. “The money will go into an account, and we’re going to have a board that will oversee the distribution of those funds. Students will be able to apply for that money and the rule is, and has always been, the money is supposed to go to an organization that works with kids.”

Monetary donations will go into the non-profit fund. Throughout the year, GVSU student organizations that work with children can apply for a mini-grant from the fund to be used for programs, projects or operational costs.

Tibbe said the opportunities are endless, giving examples such as buying school supplies for students in Grand Rapids, purchasing books for a library or organizing a baseball camp for children.

“Every year the money will go into that same fund,” Tibbe said. “People won’t have to wonder, ‘Where does that money go for Battle of the Valleys?’”

She added that the money will not be used to fund the BOTV event.

This year, GVSU is looking to break SVSU’s six-year winning streak. Last year, SVSU raised $25,185 for Special Olympics, Area 22 while GVSU raised $11,137 for S.P.O.R.T.S.

GVSU hasn’t taken home the trophy since 2007, when the university raised $31,382 for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital compared to SVSU’s $20,000 for the City Rescue Mission.

“I do think GV has a chance of beating SVSU,” said Emma Moulton, executive vice president of Student Senate. “Last year was the first year the Laker Traditions Team took charge, and there was a major improvement. The biggest thing is to keep the marketing going so information about BOTV reaches all 25,000 students.

“…If students get on board, there is no doubt we can beat SVSU.”

The event was previously organized by Student Senate but was taken over by the Laker Traditions Team last year.

“We finally have a resting place and a game plan for BOTV, so I think it will only get better year after year,” Moulton said.

Donations for the BOTV competition will only be accepted during the week of Nov. 9 through Nov. 15. There are four ways to donate:

  1. Find an on-campus contribution spot, or at the Student Senate office
  2. Attend and contribute at any BOTV event
  3. Buy a BOTV T-shirt
  4. Donate online (the link will be available Nov. 9)

BOTV t-shirts will be available on Nov. 9. Shirts can be pre-ordered starting Monday, Nov. 3 from noon to 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Kirkhof Center. Shirts can also be pre-ordered on Nov. 5 and Nov. 7. Part of the proceeds from shirt sales will go to the Children’s Fund.

“It’s Laker pride,” Tibbe said. “It goes back to being a Laker for a lifetime, because Lakers give back… and it’s also part of Laker pride. We’re tired of saying Saginaw Valley won. It’s more than just the football game.”

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