July 2, 2014
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you. I learned Michigan’s motto in elementary school, but back then, I probably didn’t truly appreciate it. In fact, I doubt I really appreciated my state until I left it.
I was born and raised in metro Detroit. I visited other places, but I never really imagined myself anywhere else. And then my husband got stationed in South Dakota and I spent almost four years away from the Great Lakes state. No offense to South Dakota, but it just never felt like home and I couldn’t wait to get back to the mitten.
I missed family, sure, but I missed so much more. I missed beautiful lakes and stunning shores. I missed the smell of fall and fresh-pressed cider. I missed the Detroit Red Wings and coney dogs. I missed steamy summer days and going “up north.” I missed the sight of the Mackinac Bridge and the Detroit skyline. I missed looking south and seeing Canada. I missed the MSU/U-M rivalry. I missed Faygo, Sanders, Better Made and Vernors. I missed home.
I love this state. Are there things I don’t love about it? Sure, but overall the good things outweigh the polar vortexes, mosquitos and economic challenges. These 57,022 square miles of land, including 3,126 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, mean the world to me.
It’s one of the reasons I love working at the state’s premier land-grant university. Every single day, MSU is making some sort of positive impact in the state. We’re not just educating students; the university is improving technology, agriculture, manufacturing, health care, education, energy, environment and the arts in Michigan. MSU runs 4-H programs and has Extension offices that serve every county in the state. We’re helping farmers, the auto industry, teachers, the Great Lakes, patients, businesses and so many more.
MSU owns 25,000 acres of land in the state and data from an independent study by the Anderson Economic Group shows that the university has a $5,241,721,074 total economic impact in the state. To really explore just how many ways MSU is making Michigan stronger, check out MI Spartan Impact. It’s pretty dang impressive.
Danita Brandt is an associate professor of geological science and one of the 11,287 MSU staff and faculty members living in the state. She’s used her area of expertise to examine how the land of Michigan was actually formed. Fun fact: Did you know MSU’s “Rock” was actually a boulder imported from Canada when glaciers waxed and waned, leaving rocks behind? Check out her FACULTY VOICE: A Story of Fire, Water and Ice, to learn more.
The commitment to the state doesn’t end with the administration or faculty. Students also get involved by doing community outreach projects throughout Michigan.
Joel Arnold is a senior from Davison, Michigan, studying social relations and policy in the James Madison College. He is passionate about public service and feels the need to serve the community around him. He founded the MSU chapter of LiveWorkDetroit!, a major state effort to retain college grads and specifically to get them to be passionate about its biggest city. Read more about him in the STUDENT VIEW: Becoming a Change Agent.
Look around you. Whether you’re in Iron Mountain, Bay City, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Detroit, Port Huron, Westland, Monroe or even just looking at the Beaumont Tower webcam from out of state—stop for a moment and appreciate this pleasant peninsula. Appreciate its beauty and spirit and the people who live here and find a way that you can make Michigan even greater than it already is.
Photo of the Tawas Point lighthouse taken by Lisa Mulcrone