From the editor:

Trading spaces

Jan. 3, 2018

I have moved my office 11 times since I started working at MSU. I haven’t changed departments (though our name changed once) or buildings, but have gone from the fourth floor, to the third, back to the fourth, back to the third and back again to the fourth. I often get confused which elevator button to push even now. (I also get confused as to what I’ve mentioned in my column before, so pardon me if I’m repeating myself. It happens after writing every week for almost five years.)

Believe it or not, I don’t even hold the record for most moves. My colleague, Rain, actually has moved more times. We’re sure it’s not because people are trying to get rid of us – well, pretty sure.

I actually didn’t mind all of the moves that much. There’s something exciting about getting a new view, different layout and fresh perspective. Plus, there’s zero chance of hoarding because throwing out is part of packing up, so my office is pretty organized.

My current space is my favorite since there’s adequate room for the couch I took out of a pile of discarded furniture in the hallway my first year here. Plus, I’ve got my own thermostat which I’m really grateful for, especially today. I’ve spent many a work day in other spaces wearing gloves. Once, before all the windows were replaced, it was actually snowing inside a previous office.

But, like I said, trading spaces every so often gives one a fresh outlook and a new perspective. Brand new spaces are exciting. They represent change and often create a bold look for the future. They jumpstart ideas and offer opportunities for creativity, exploration and discovery.

As we kick off a new year here on campus, we’re creating a bunch of new spaces that will do all those things and more. There will be new buildings for cutting-edge research, business education and the arts. New structures and renovated old ones will give Spartans more spaces to settle in, do their work and find ways to change the world. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Gaining ground, to see just some of the new spaces on the horizon.

Gary Bente is a professor of communication and the director of a fascinating new space on campus – the Center for Avatar Research and Immersive Media Applications. The new lab is focused on the “interdisciplinary study of the effect of virtual reality experiences on human interaction.” Seriously, there is some really cool stuff going on in the lab over in the Communication Arts and Sciences building. Check out the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Endless possibilities, to see some examples of the intriguing work they’re doing.

Mehrdad Sedaghat Baghbani, a master's student in the College of Arts and Letters, made a much bigger move than between two floors of Olds Hall. The graphic designer made the trek from his hometown of Mashhad, Iran, to East Lansing a year and a half ago. He has used his talents to connect those two worlds. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: Bridging two cultures, to learn more about this talented young man.

As I think back on all the spaces I’ve been in, I can think of a multitude of accomplishments I’ve had in each one. As I reflect on the new year stretched out before me, I hope that this current office will spark even more success. But, while new spaces are awesome, Spartans need only their will to create change. Whether in a fancy new lab or the middle of a field, Spartans will make discoveries and form partnerships that will make better tomorrows for everyone. Because, even though it’s a new year with new spaces, it’s always the same Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo of Munn Pinetum by Derrick L. Turner