BATS projects to benefit local causes


Students and faculty will present SVSU’s fourth Business, Art, Theatre and Sociology (BATS) project on Thursday, April 19.

The biannual BATS project is completed by the Vitito Fellowship Program as well as professors and students from each of the different departments in BATS.

Joseph Ofori-Dankwa represents the business department, Michael Mosher the art department, David Rzeszutek the theatre department and Dawn Hinton the sociology department.

The professors have participated in each previous BATS project.

“The BATS project began in 2012 because the business professor, Ofori-Dankwa, said he wished his business students were as creative as art students,” Mosher said. “Our ultimate goal was to create an art and theatre space for our students in downtown Saginaw. So we would let the students from the different departments put a project together and see what happened.”

Each year, the professors had a specific goal to complete. The professors have met several times to discuss this year’s BATS project.

“This year’s project was something special,” Mosher said. “We had an urban needs summit in February to discuss the needs of the Saginaw community.”

Ofori-Dankwa has been working with the business students through the Vitito Fellows class to create focus groups based off the summit that occurred on Feb. 9.

“The broad theme of the BATS project is helping Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region to develop and revitalize” Ofori-Dankwa said.
“Specifically, for this year, our students did a community needs assessment.”

During the panel, business students learned about the Saginaw community’s needs.

“We brought six experts in five different areas from the community in the areas of education, health, religion, business and finance and then government,” Ofori-Dankwa said. “With each of these experts, we created a panel, and the business students undertook a focus group with the idea of identifying four or five of the most important community needs that SVSU could subsequently work on.”

While the professors did much of the work to get the BATS projects started, the students are expected to lead the projects themselves.

“The students have to organize themselves and get together with students from other departments,” Mosher said. “Art students are usually better at meeting deadlines, since they’re used to having physical art that needs to be completed and sent to print. But they are also very individualistic, so it is hard for them to compromise; they like to work in their own space.”

Bachelor of Fine Arts senior Anna Slavin has been working to make a digital mural for the project.

“I took over the health branch,” Slavin said. “Working on the health imagery has been my biggest contribution to the BATS project.”

Business junior Carly D’Alessandro worked as the business leader for the religion area of the project. She also found the project stimulating.

“(It was rewarding) to be pushed way out of our comfort zone and faced with a difficult challenge, but we were able to overcome it, and, hopefully, our hard work will help better the Saginaw community,” D’Alessandro said.