SVSU students present interdisciplinary BATS project


SVSU presented its fourth biannual Business, Arts, Theatre and Sociology (BATS) project on Thursday, April 19, in the Curtiss Hall Banquet Rooms at 4 p.m.

The evening started with a poster presentation by sociology students who worked on the BATS project with sociology professor Dawn Hinton. Each poster summarized the research the students did for their group’s topic, including education, business and finance, health, government and religion.

Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Huntley offered opening remarks for the evening.

“(The BATS project) is an ongoing community engagement project that has been one of our long-standing traditions as well as one of the most successful,” Huntley said to audience members. “Students from our business, art, theatre and sociology departments collaborate with faculty and work with members of the community to help develop a project that has multiple functions.”

Some functions include students learning about the practical needs of Saginaw and how the BATS disciplines relate to each other.

“We hope that the community benefits as well,” Huntley said. “That is what community engagement is about. It’s about the reciprocity between the students learning and communities befitting from that learning.”

Each group presented the work they have been doing on the project. Vitito Fellows students, representing the business department, gave a PowerPoint presentation summarizing their group’s findings. Art department students shared their murals, which related to their team’s topics. Theatre students led their group in a skit.

Three judges determined the top three groups of the night. Judges included Hideki Kihata, the art department chair; Linda Sims, the executive director of communications and external affairs; and Jamila Gray, a mother of students involved in the skits performed that night.

The sociology posters were judged separately by SVSU students Nathan Franke, Bijesh Gyawali and Kofi Yeboah.

As the judges conferred, various SVSU faculty and community members performed skits and songs.

Saginaw’s First Ward Community Center’s L.A.C.E.R. Theatre performed “Better When I’m Dancing – overcoming the mountain of bullying.”

Betsy Pierce, an accounting professor, sang various songs.

Johnnie Mae Burt, a 1981 SVSU alumna, was honored that evening for her work at the Saginaw County Department of Public Health in the Office of Substance Abuse.

“A few years ago, I was a student here at Saginaw Valley, and I still am,” Burt said. “You never stop learning, and thank God for that. I’ve learned so much from coming out here tonight and listening to these presentations.”

At the end of the event, winners were announced. The health group came in third, business and finance second and government first.

Sociology poster winners were Gracie Lefler from education in third place, Kaylyn Loscalzo from government in second and Chidi Unobagha from business and finance in first.

Vitito Fellows from the government group were happy to win first place.

“I think we did a really good job with it,” said finance junior Eric Sollund. “It came together nicely. … I learned how difficult it is to collaborate with a team.”

Marketing junior Chandler Peplinski also learned from the difficult experience.

“I think the hardest part for us was the time,” Peplinksi said. “We had to meet at 10:15 p.m., once people were done with work and classes. … (I am glad) I took part in the BATS project. It was a really fun time.”