Jan. 22, 2020
I stumbled out of bed last Saturday, looked out the window and sighed. For the second weekend in a row, Mother Nature decided that East Lansing needed some ice and snow. At least I didn’t have to drive anywhere and could hunker down and get some work done around the house.
But still, it was heavy, wet snow and we have a pretty big driveway and sidewalk to shovel. My husband headed out to shovel, but before I could get out to help, our neighbor showed up with his mini plow and finished the job. He proceeded to do all the driveways and sidewalks on the street and then started in on the road. He’s done this for years, though I’m certain he probably hasn’t even talked to some of our newer residents. For him, it’s about helping neighbors and strangers just because he can.
As we celebrated MLK Jr. Day this past Monday, I was reminded of a quote of his, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” My neighbor certainly has a pretty good answer to that. It doesn’t take much to make a difference for someone.
I try to do things for others when I can. I used to wait tables, so I know what tips mean. For years, my husband and I often tip up to 50% on our bill. I buy lunch for friends and coworkers and sometimes I pay for food or coffee for the stranger behind me in the drive-thru. I bake treats and share them with others. I’ve volunteered to build houses, paint, deliver meals, plant trees and mentor. Not because I want kudos or recognition but because doing things for others matters.
Every day, Spartans are working to answer MLK Jr.’s question in a multitude of ways.
Like recent journalism graduate and former intern in our office, Maddy Kelly. In true Spartan fashion, she says, “I have always known that I wanted to leave the world better than I found it.” And she’s not just thinking it, she’s doing something about it by volunteering in the Peace Corps. Read her STUDENT VIEW: My path to the Peace Corps, to learn more about this inspiring young woman.
Or Mackenzie Desloover, a sophomore nursing student, and Brittany Ladson, a second-year student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, who traveled to the Dominican Republic with the Institute of Global Health to care for patients. Read about their experience in the STUDENT VIEW: Learning medical culture in the Dominican Republic.
This month also gave us the story about Spartan Jessica Halmaghi, a senior studying human development and family studies and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Smile 4 Kids. She was recently named by VIP Media Group as a Top Ten Female Leader to Pay Attention to in 2020.
Another recent story focused on 124 MSU students who were recognized for their dedication to volunteerism in their communities. They totaled 23,038 hours of service amid 300 community partners.
And it’s not just students who answer the MLK Jr.’s question with action. Rob Roznowski, the head of acting and directing, dedicated his time and efforts beyond just teaching. As an Academic Advancement Network Leadership Fellow, he created a central resource for faculty to help their students access mental health services. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Centralizing resources for mental health, to learn more about his important work.
Most likely, you aren’t able to join the Peace Corps, offer medical care in the Dominican Republic or take on a major project. But there is so much good, big and small, to be done in the world. Have an answer when asked what you are doing for others. Don’t rely on others to step up. Be a difference-maker and a world changer. When someone asks, “Who will do more for others?” make sure the answer is always, “Spartans Will.”
Photo by Rod Sanford