Different is good
Oct. 18, 2017
They sit just outside my office. They come from small towns without stoplights, the largest city in the state and places in-between. One even calls Canada home. They’re majoring in advertising, media and information, journalism, political science, and sustainable parks, recreation and tourism. They’re from different backgrounds and races. Their ages vary and they’re at different stages of their college careers. They’re extroverts and introverts. They have different likes, dislikes, goals and experiences. They’re part of different organizations and religions. Yet, it’s not their differences that they focus on or even notice, but the fact that they are all Spartans that unites them.
They’re also united by the fact that they are all student interns in our office this semester. Oh yeah, and every single one of them is pretty amazing. They’re smart, dedicated, creative, responsible and tireless. They carry heavy class loads, work multiple jobs, are always willing to pitch in and aren’t afraid to try something new. And while each one is unique, it’s those differences that make them stronger as a team – just like the entire Spartan Nation. Our individual strengths are impressive, but collectively we have the power to make an incredible change for good.
I love listening to them throughout the day. They don’t even realize they’re learning about the world as they learn about each other. I’ve heard them discussing home, family, classes, other opportunities, studying abroad, motivation, stocks and bonds, tattoos, positive attitudes and what’s appropriate to wear to a Catholic wedding. They were strangers when they started, but the mere fact that they’re all Spartans gave them a built-in kinship.
This week Spartans are celebrating what makes us different through our Homecoming 2017 theme – Uniquely Spartan. There are tons of unique things about our university that we, as Spartans, can applaud. To share our pride with the rest of the world, some took to social media to showcase what makes Spartans different. We gathered some of those posts to present in the MSUToday Feature: Uniquely Spartan. It’s fun, impressive and will give you tons of points of pride you can share on your accounts or even at your next in-person social gathering.
Liz Schondelmayer is one of those amazing interns I mentioned earlier. I’ve been lucky enough to be a College of Social Science Scholar mentor of hers since her freshman year and now that she’s a junior, I’m getting to know her even better since I see her three days a week. She’s an incredibly bright and engaging young woman who finishes work as fast as I can throw it at her. As a non-sports fan and a first-generation Spartan, she decided to figure out how she could celebrate Homecoming. This week, she challenged herself to take part in Homecoming activities and blog about it. Read what she’s done so far in the STUDENT VIEW: Finding meaning in Homecoming, and check back later in the week to read more.
Mariah Hill, Makaila Marshall and Colin White are all seniors who were selected to represent the university as Homecoming Ambassadors. They, along with seven other students, were chosen after a rigorous selection process based on leadership, community involvement, academic excellence and Spartan pride. Recently, they were asked what they think it means to be a Spartan. Find out how they answered in the STUDENT VIEW: Spartans are… and learn more about them.
Obviously, it’s not just the students who are uniquely Spartan – campus is filled with some fantastic researchers and instructors. Ross Chowles is an academic specialist of advertising and public relations who found an incredibly unique way to write a Faculty Voice. After participating in an advertising competition, he decided to explain his experience using famous art pieces instead of words. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Minds Wide Open in pictures, to see his super creative submission.
When you look across the more than half a million Spartans around the world, you can’t help notice how very different we all are. Yet, when you look inside every Spartan you find things that bind us all together – boldness, grit, sincerity, authenticity, a willingness to work together and a desire to change the world. This week, let’s celebrate what makes us unique, but always remember it’s what we share as Spartans that make us a force to be reckoned with. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner