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April 4, 2018

SVSU student named top leader in six-state region for her extraordinary enthusiasm

A Saginaw Valley State University student known across campus for enthusiastically promoting school spirit has earned a coveted honor for her passionate advocacy. 

Morgan Seeley, a history education major from Breckenridge, received the Outstanding Student Leader award from The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for District 5, which includes colleges and universities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin..

Seeley, who will graduate in May, earned the award largely based on her engaging work with Forever Red, an SVSU student organization. Forever Red's goals are based on three pillars: connecting with SVSU alumni, enhancing the student experience on campus, and promoting "Red Pride," a phrase associated with SVSU school spirit.

“Usually a student will find that one or two of those pillars really resonates with them,” said Bryan Crainer, Forever Red’s adviser. “Morgan is a unique case where she fully buys into each of the organization's pillars and strives to see the organization excel in each of those areas.”

When she was appointed president of Forever Red for this academic year, Seeley continued to build upon the foundation set by her predecessors, Crainer said.

“She challenged the organization to improve the programs that have become traditions, and explore new ways to reach students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Crainer, SVSU's associate dean for student life and leadership programs.

In addition to her individual award, Seeley learned that the organization she leads also earned recognition from CASE District 5. Forever Red received the Outstanding Organization award.

“For me, it's more exciting that Forever Red won this tremendous award,” Seeley said. “I am so grateful to have been named the Outstanding Student Leader, but the biggest reward has been seeing the organization get the recognition it deserves.”

Forever Red organizes fundraising events throughout the year to support student scholarships. One scholarship drive, "I Heart SV Week," collected $4,200 recently. Another successful endeavor is the Cardinal Forever Initiative where Forever Red sells SVSU t-shirts for $1 during Fresh Start, an event that introduces freshmen to life at SVSU.

Seeley may have recognized a hint of the support from CASE during the beginning of her term as Forever Red president. In August 2017, she attended a CASE national conference where she presented on Forever Red to an audience of peers from similar organizations at other higher education institutions. Attendees watching the presentation were given blank comment cards and encouraged to provide written feedback to the conference's presenters.

When she finished speaking, Seeley collected the response cards.

“There were stacks of them,” she said. “There was so much positive reaction to what I was telling them about Forever Red. So many people told me they wanted to implement what Forever Red is doing at SVSU in their own colleges”

Seeley and Forever Red are continuing a tradition where CASE District 5 recognizes student passion and dedication at SVSU. In 2016, Kim Salwey, Forever Red's president at the time, earned the Outstanding Student Leader award while her organization simultaneously received the Outstanding Organization honor.