From the editor:

The total package

June 14, 2017

Guess what? There is very little difference in appearance between a black soaker hose with a yellow stripe and a striped snake coiled up in it – except only one moves when you grab it by mistake. Yeah, that was not my best moment. It’s not like it was going to hurt me, but I really, really don’t like snakes. Yet, there it was last Saturday, wrapped up with my hose like a tiny package of nightmares that will continue to haunt me for a long time.

While not nearly as horrifying, I remember a few years ago when another package gave my husband’s family new holiday lore to add to their collection. My mother-in-law got a gift in the mail for Christmas. As she started to unwrap it, she began to show her excitement for the George Forman grill advertised on the box. Except when she opened it, there were bath products inside. They still joke about the “George Forman lotion,” though someone did eventually buy her that grill.

Sometimes packaging can drive you nuts. I remember the frustration of unpacking toys, especially Barbie dolls, when my daughter was little. Not that long ago I bought a pair of scissors – but I couldn’t get the plastic packaging off. I actually needed scissors to get into my scissors.

But packaging is way more than just something that occasionally frustrates me – there’s a true science behind it. It’s also pretty darn important. Smart packaging design and development keeps our food safe, medications secure and objects protected while driving innovation in sustainability.

Of course, Spartans are leading the way in smart packaging. They have been thinking outside the box for more than 50 years and continue to be leaders in the field. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: The invisible science of packaging, to see how MSU’s top-ranked School of Packaging is making life better and safer.

Laura Bix is a professor at the school and is helping teach tomorrow’s innovators in the field while being part of a group that is developing international standards related to the accessibility of packages. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Making a difference, to learn more about this Spartan who was named one of the 100 most notable people in the medical device industry.

Hananiel Setiawan, who graduated last month, is the complete Spartan package – smart, driven, bold and determined to find answers to problems. Originally from Indonesia, he majored in physics, was a College of Natural Science Deans Research Scholar, studied abroad and was involved in cutting-edge nuclear physics research at MSU’s cyclotron as an undergraduate. Read his STUDENT VIEW: A passion for research, to learn more about this impressive Spartan.

No matter the outside packaging, there’s something that’s inside all Spartans – the will to make a difference. Spartans are endlessly diverse on the outside, but inside burns the same desire to solve problems and make the world a better place for all of us. So, to wrap this up (see what I did there?) who will think outside the box to find solutions in every field? Spartans Will. 

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner