Sept. 6, 2017
Well, summer is over. Labor Day has officially come and gone, classes have begun in earnest, Spartan Stadium hosted its first game (Go Green!), the air is cooler and the leaves have started to change. And, I concede. I give in. I admit I lost. I lost the ever-exhausting battle of the lawn. I did my darndest, but this year, the weeds won. I thought I’d try the season without professional lawn care and go it alone. I mowed, I watered, I pulled weeds from their roots. And yet, I was easily overtaken by a variety of voraciously reproducing visitors from the wetlands my yard backs up to. Crazy weeds: 1, Lisa: 0.
I also had my fair share of dry, brown areas, bumps from some sneaky moles and edging I just couldn’t get right. But hey, my flowers looked great – well, until the fearless deer in the neighborhood wandered up to my front door and ate all my petunias and a fair number of leaves from my hostas. Oh, and I stopped weeding the front garden once some poison ivy showed up; so that got a little messy. I can do a lot of things, but apparently my thumb isn’t as green as I thought it was. Oh well, there are a lot worse things that a few dandelions, so I simply shrugged and admitted defeat.
There’s a neighbor on my block who has a ridiculously impeccable lawn. I mean it’s seriously perfect. Lush, green, soft, uniform and perfect edges. Sure, I know he’s got underground sprinklers but there’s definitely some other sort of magic going on there. I don’t usually covet my neighbors’ things, but man, that lawn is beautiful. I do have a lot of researchers who live on my block, so maybe he’s part of MSU’s turfgrass program. I mean, there’s no way to compete with someone who has science on his side! Even if he’s not a turfgrass researcher, I’m telling myself that to make me feel less inadequate.
MSU’s turfgrass researchers are truly outstanding in their field (see what I did there?). Not only are they pioneering new growing methods, but they have trained graduates who are currently managing some of the nation’s top golf courses and sports stadiums. Check out the short video MSUTODAY FEATURE: Turfgrass is greener on the Spartan side, to learn more about how Spartan green is growing.
Lynne Goldstein, professor of anthropology, makes her living digging up the grass – and finding out what’s underneath. As the founder and director of the Campus Archaeology Program, she has spent years researching MSU’s history by digging up what’s been buried for decades. She’s seriously one of the coolest people I’ve met on campus. I learn something fascinating every single time I talk to her. Check out her FACULTY VOICE: MSU Campus Archaeology, the future, to learn more about her career and the future of the program after she retires next May. While I’m sure the program will continue to thrive, everyone will really miss her special brand of leadership.
Emily Steffke, a junior majoring in neuroscience and English, did a lot more with the summer after her freshman year than fighting weeds. A College of Natural Science Deans Research Scholar and member of the Honors College, she did a research internship at the National Institute of Mental Health studying schizophrenia, Huntington’s and critical brain dynamics. I mean, that’s way more important than watering a lawn. And now I’m really feeling inadequate. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Piecing it all together, to learn how she’s blended passions for neuroscience, English and piano into what is sure to be an incredibly successful future.
You know, I’m fine with the grass being a little bit (OK, a lot) greener on the other side of my street. Not everyone can be a turgrass expert. Not everyone can build a long, esteemed career as an archaeologist or figure out how to turn disparate passions into an impressive future. But that’s the great thing about MSU – there truly is something for everyone. Spartans become leaders in as many different fields as you can imagine – even if they’re brown and filled with weeds. Because one thing is for sure, things are always greener on the Spartan side. Spartans Will.
Photos by Kurt Stepnitz