(08/26/13) - There was quite the buzz at Saginaw Valley State University on the first day of classes, even at 5 in the morning.
"We're all just excited to be back on campus. We're too excited to sleep in. We don't need sleep," said SVSU student Megan VanFleteren.
Fueling that energy, the fact that this marked the kickoff of SVSU's 50th anniversary celebration. Several events are planned throughout the year, including guest speakers, performances, and a '50s fest.
"Everyone's getting engaged, even people who maybe haven't gotten involved in the past. They see things about the fiftieth anniversary, and they're so excited about it," said SVSU student Melissa Jones.
A few things have changed since 1964, including the look of the campus - along with the size of the student body, which began with only 119 kids.
"Now our enrollment is over 10,000. So yes, we've grown quite a bit over the years," said J.J. Boehm, SVSU Media/Community Relations Dir.
According to Boehm, that growth has been a community-wide effort.
"To think that 50 years ago, the people of our region raised more than $4 million, more than $30 million to date to put us here, and now all of these students here have the opportunity to earn a college education," he said.
That tradition of giving will be carried forward this year by the Forever Red group.
"We have the student giving campaign kicking off this fall, and we're looking to raise $50,000 for student scholarships. It should be an exciting time, and we're really looking to see what students can do to give back to other students," said SVSU student Emily VanFleteren.
SVSU's fraternities and sororities have some big fundraising plans tied into the big 5-0 as well.
"We're going to raise money for the Area 22 Special Olympics for Battle of the Valleys, and we also will have a major impact with Relay for Life. We really want to make a difference and we're here and ready to do that," said Marsha Weiss, SVSU student.
For more on SVSU's fiftieth anniversary celebration, click HERE.
ABC12 Main Station