Oct. 12, 2016
I looked around me. There were people of all ages, colors, religions, etc. I sat between a table of young Muslim girls in hijabs and a group of older black men in pink breast cancer shirts. Two tables away was an Asian man eating with chopsticks. Next to him was a mom breastfeeding her baby. An elderly white man in a formal suit using a cane made his way around a table and a black teenaged boy in a hoodie jumped up to help him and got him situated in a chair. That same man invited an Indian woman to share his table. No one looked at anyone in a way other than with smiles. No judgement, no fear, no anger. We were just a community of humans eating lunch together at the Flint Farmers' Market on Saturday. I thought to myself, “This is who we are. This is who we can be.”
I also think, “This is who Spartans are.” Spartans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, backgrounds and beliefs. We are a community of strong individuals who have incredible power when we work together. This week we’re celebrating Homecoming. Alumni will travel to campus, special events will be held and Spartans of all kinds will mix and mingle. There will be doctors with teachers, grandparents with students, scientists with poets and everything in between. This is who we are. Spartans touch every corner of the world and every profession you can imagine.
Spartans are there for each other – to lend a helping hand, to partner on a project, to celebrate victories, to comfort in defeat and to offer sage advice. Recently we asked all Spartans what advice they had for incoming freshmen, in an MSUToday Feature, Your Tomorrow. We asked and they answered with some great thoughts. “Be open to new ideas. Expand your worldview. Study abroad.” See – this is who we are. Spartans know peace comes from understanding. Working together means respecting differences. Change comes from open minds, inquiring conversation and learning.
We compiled a selection of some of the advice in a new MSUToday feature, My MSU. Check it out and see if your advice matches up.
Rob Roznowski, associate professor of acting and Fulbright Fellow, recently explored a new culture through a theater project in Greece. He says, “…what was really interesting about the project was the different aesthetic between the United States and Greece in the creation of performance and what constitutes theatre.” While there, he finished writing a musical, Mount Olympus Junior High, which is about integration, intolerance and bullying when the school becomes integrated, mixing half mortals with full gods. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Producing work abroad, to learn more about his work.
Megan Cochrane, an Honors College senior majoring in theatre and journalism, took the advice that many alumni offered and participated in a study abroad experience over the summer in London. Like Roznowkski, she explored a different culture through theater. She says she “found a lot of independence and freedom while I was over there which was fantastic.” Watch the short video STUDENT VIEW: Finding independence, to learn more about her experience.
Though our differences are vast, our similarities create a bond. Spartans know we’re powerful as individuals but a force to be reckoned with when we work together. Spartans explore the world. We find creative and unique ways to educate ourselves and make an impact in our communities. We offer hands down to pull others up. We learn. We create. We heal. We discover. We don’t judge. We understand. This is who we are. Who will? Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner