Saginaw Valley State University

Kim Salwey (2016)

My First Generation Story

The sight of those T-shirts still makes me smile.

I remember spending one of the first days of the last academic year at Saginaw Valley State University selling 1,000 $1 shirts to freshmen. The sales were a fundraiser for Forever Red. I had been a member of the group since my first year on campus and I served as president this last academic year. On that particular day, our campus pride-inspiring organization raised funds for four $250 Cardinal Forever Initiative scholarships.

It was a beautiful day out in the courtyard. All of the Forever Red members were coming together to make this a success, and all the freshmen got their first dose of Red Pride. This past year, the Cardinal Forever Initiative was different for me because I really grasped the concept of giving back. Today, I can still walk through the halls and find students wearing the shirt, and that brings a smile to my face.

I truly appreciate the power of this college community—one I wanted to be a part of when I first arrived as a first-generation college student, and a classmate living in a neighboring housing suite on campus offered to sell me a Forever Red T-shirt. By my second semester, I became a member of Forever Red. From there, I started going to more things and meeting new people. The experience since then helped me discover a love of philanthropy.

Over the years, Forever Red and I were able to channel that newfound passion into initiatives that benefited SVSU and its students. A recent accomplishment included Forever Red's contributions to I Heart SV Week, a campaign in early February that raised both scholarship money and awareness about the importance of philanthropy. The effort resulted in $27,500 raised by Forever Red and the SVSU Foundation.

The campaign encompassed the community engagement spirit that I have grown to love as a member of Forever Red and SVSU. I wanted to be part of something bigger than I am. I know I can say I was part of something bigger here at SVSU.

About the Student

Kim Salwey Resized

Kim Salwey was raised in the small, tight-knit community of East Tawas by family members with an extensive military and law enforcement background — but no experience in higher education. As a result, she arrived at SVSU in an environment with more strangers than she was accustomed to and with little college advice. “My goal was to get involved,” Salwey said. And she did, taking a student leadership role with a group whose goal was to heighten school pride and get students involved on campus.

Student Stats

Name: Kim Salwey (2016)
Age: 22
Year in School: Senior
Major: Marketing
Favorite Course: Marketing
Dream Job: Marketing Professional

About the School


At SVSU you will experience opportunities of self discovery, leadership, and growth while pursuing one of our 90 undergraduate or graduate programs. You will be enlightened to international cultures through speakers, coursework, and perhaps even a study abroad experience. Our distinguished faculty are committed to undergraduate teaching.  The value of these opportunities is enhanced by the fact that SVSU offers the lowest tuition rate of Michigan’s public universities.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662