Feb. 6, 2019
As I look out my office window at the ice covering campus, I remember when it was warm enough to wear a light coat — that was just four days ago. Of course, two days before that it was cold enough that even bundled up, being outside was a significant danger. Now, we’re back to cold temps and a coating of ice, but the forecast is for 50 degrees tomorrow. That’s part of being a Michigander — you can practically get whiplash from the rapidly changing weather.
From my building, the difference between the top photo and this one can happen in 48 hours.
Last week when it was -34 windchill, a Facebook memory popped up that reminded me that seven years ago was so beautiful that I was urging people to get outside and enjoy it. That just felt mean. Today, Facebook reminded me that six years ago I was in Tanzania hearing monkeys outside my window. Last year, I was teaching a puppy how to shake. Those are both pretty lovely memories, which is why I shared them with my friends. Reminiscing is great, but there are certainly past days I don’t want to relive at all.
However it’s important to look at history, good and bad, in order to find inspiration to change the future. Looking back at pioneers, game changers and groundbreakers can give rise to determination to make a difference.
In 1966, MSU changed the game of college football not by winning a national championship, but by doing it with an integrated team of players when many programs were still segregated. It’s a really cool story that I never knew, so chances are a lot of Spartans aren’t aware of this important piece of MSU history. Check out the short video MSUTODAY FEATURE: Game changers, to learn more about 20 inspiring Spartan student-athletes who changed college football forever.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Tiffany Whittington, a junior pursuing a degree in English, it came in the form of a book she read last semester, “The Hate U Give.” Read her STUDENT VIEW: How a book can inspire activism, to learn how this motivated Spartan wants to give back.
The book was an assignment from April Baker-Bell, an assistant professor of language, literacy and English education, for her English 302 course. She’s in the midst of writing her own book focusing on language attitudes. Check out her FACULTY VOICE: Language and identity, for some Q&As about her research and work.
I suspect that somewhere down the road, someone will be looking back at history and remembering something amazing that these two women have done. That’s who we are as Spartans — never content with the status quo. We challenge ourselves and the world around us, using our brilliance and our fortitude, to make the future better for everyone. #SpartansWill
Photos by Derrick L. Turner