New issue of ‘Reflections’ puts campus life into perspective

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The new issue of the SVSU magazine “Reflections” will be distributed across campus this week, and the stories inside are sure to entertain and engage students.

Editor Justin Engel, a communication specialist at SVSU, said the magazine is mailed out to 40,000 alumni across the United States twice every year.

“Each issue of ‘Reflections’ has some common themes,” he said. “They deal with issues affecting the community – both the SVSU campus as well as the region and world our university supports – and feature members of the SVSU family.”

Engel is a former Valley Vanguard editor and a 2005 SVSU alumnus.

He has worked as the editor for “Reflections” for two years and said he was a reader of the magazine even before he took his position at the helm.

Director of Creative Services Jill Allardyce said there are multiple personal stories in the new issue and said stories of perseverance and people making a difference defines SVSU.

And, she said it gives students a deeper look at personal interest stories about faculty and staff at SVSU.

“Another very touching story you will find is about (associate professor of sociology) Brian Thomas, one of SVSU’s great faculty members, who lost his wife Holli,” she said. “Brian and his two young sons have coped with grief as a family and are healing with the help of community and fitness. They honor Holli’s memory by fundraising for the Children’s Grief Center, a community center they still visit to this day and which still helps them heal.”

The stories in the magazine have a wide range, including stories of success and tragedy, some that pose questions, and others that may answer them.

“We like to provide a diverse lineup of stories aimed at everyone from current students, faculty and staff, to individuals who haven’t stepped foot on campus in decades,” Engel said.

Stories in “Reflections” include a photo essay featuring the extensive bug collection of professor of biology Stephen Taber, a profile of Thomas, a feature on alumnus and recently appointed Saginaw County District Judge Manvel Trice III, and an article on alumna and U.S. Army veteran Gretchen Evans, who was injured in battle in Afghanistan and works with a service dog to cope with disability.

The cover story centers on opioids, a drug that includes painkillers and heroin, which Engel feels is a national health epidemic affecting local citizens and which is becoming a deadly problem in the United States.

“That problem has manifested itself locally,” he said. “In partnership with the Bay County Health Department, SVSU manages a health care clinic in Bay City known as the University Clinic.”

The University Clinic is a primary health care clinic at which SVSU faculty members tend to patients and students from the College of Health and Human Services serve as interns.

Engel said an increasing number of patients they tend to are opioid addicts, and “Reflections” documents the clinic’s struggle to help save the lives of addicts.

“Both (patients and staff) share brutal stories that are becoming alarmingly common in the U.S. and can impact any home,” he said.

Allardyce said she likes the cover story on the Spring 2017 issue and that it is a good example of positive SVSU community involvement in helping to solve a problem.

“The quote from the featured patient of the clinic, ‘I’m alive because of the University Clinic,’ is so powerful,” she said. “That is evidence of real positive changes happening in the community because of SVSU.”

Engel said he hopes SVSU students feel closer to their fellow students after reading “Reflections.”

“These stories are meant to dig deep into the character of our institution and shine a spotlight on the people who make the university so distinctly tight-knit as a family,” he said.