April 17, 2019
Recently, I met up with a long-time friend and her son who is a junior in high school. I had the pleasure of showing them a little more of campus after their official tour, which they raved about. Like me, she is an alumna and couldn’t stop talking about how many more opportunities are available to students now than when we attended. He could barely contain his enthusiasm for MSU and everything that Spartans stand for. He is an impressive, engaged, smart, polite young man who already exemplifies those special Spartan traits.
It was so refreshing to me to see campus from his perspective. While everyone acknowledges the horrible things that happened here, I often forget that there are fresh-faced students who are looking beyond the past to their own bright futures. While we all must work to fix what’s wrong, these young students remind me why it’s so important that we do.
I’m lucky that I’m on campus every day witnessing all of the good that happens here. The overwhelming majority of Spartans are working hard, doing what’s right and finding ways to make the world a better place. I imagine as an alumnus across the country, it might not always be easy to see all the good that Spartans are doing.
For the past six months or so, my colleagues have been gathering up some awesome stories about Spartans. We documented students, faculty and alumni doing incredible things with their lives. We shot professional video and let others take over our Instagram account for the day. The result is a beautiful and engaging MSUTODAY FEATURE: I am a Spartan. If you don’t give it a look, you’ll be missing out on some great stories. Here’s a little preview, featuring the voiceover talents of MSU junior, Eli Drake who is majoring in theater.
There are a lot of great stories there, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the impact that Spartans are making. Like I said, I’m lucky that I get to see examples pretty much every day because of where I work.
Take Todd Lucas, for example. He is an associate professor in the College of Human Medicine’s Division of Public Health in Flint and C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health. He is dedicated to figuring out the psychosocial causes of racial health disparities with a focus on stress and preventive health behavior pathways, such as cancer screening. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Taking on the ‘ick’ factor, to learn more about the work he’s doing.
Or take Don Nguyen, a junior majoring in microbiology and molecular genetics. He’s a ridiculously accomplished and brilliant young man who has already conducted important research. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: Bringing science to life, to learn more about his studies and why he appreciates the mentors he’s had during his time at MSU.
These are the stories of the Spartans I know and love. I also love the story of the Spartans who created an extremely important exhibit, “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak,” that will run through March 2020 at the MSU Museum. The exhibit was developed in collaboration with sexual assault survivors and was inspired by the teal ribbons that were tied on campus trees last spring. This is the kind of thing real Spartans do.
In the past year or so, it hasn’t always been easy to admit to being a Spartan. I’ve heard from many people who struggled with it. But, there is still so much positive impact that we Spartans have on the world. I am proud to say, “I am a Spartan.” I hope that people can see the incredible good that I see. I want potential students to see the promise in what we have to offer and be thrilled when they receive their “Congrats, you are a Spartan” notifications.
I am a Spartan. You are a Spartan. We are all Spartans. As Spartans, it’s our duty to be leaders, lifesavers and world changers. We’ve got this. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz