Yesterday, like much of the nation, I was glued to the news of the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. While I breathed a sigh of relief that accountability for a life tragically lost had been recognized, I know that there is much work to be done to address racism, equity and justice for all.
President Stanley, in a letter sent to the Spartan community last night, said, “I acknowledge that I will never be able to truly understand the pain and trauma experienced by those in our Black and African American communities and by other people of color. I remain steadfast in our commitment to rooting out racial inequities that affect members of the campus community.”
I can’t think of any better way to say how I feel as well. I’m glad that he is at the helm of the university and so committed to making our campus, and the world, a better place for all. There is work to be done, but Spartans are never afraid of hard work.
We are working hard all the time to create a better future, including one that includes a healthier planet. Tomorrow the world will mark the 51st Earth Day. But here at MSU, we consider Earth Day to be every day.
By making sustainability part of our campus culture, reducing our carbon footprint, powering campus with renewable energy, reducing waste and conducting research, we are living our mantra of “Go Green.” Check out the story, “MSU celebrates sustainability successes,” to learn more about what we’re doing. Also, we were recently given some pretty impressive global recognition for our impact on UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We’re also partnering with the Ingham County Health Department and Michigan Department of Public Health to offer vaccination appointments on campus for all Michigan residents. That’s in addition to walk-in vaccines being offered to employees and students. We know that beating this virus will take a lot of hard work.
In many cases, the hard work doesn’t end but goes on and on. In the case of one of the world’s oldest science experiments happening right here at MSU, it’s been going on for 142 years. It started with William J. Beal, a botanist who buried bottles filled with seeds on campus. They are beneath the ground in a secret location, which is passed down to a trusted few each generation. Scientists dig them up periodically and have tested them throughout decades. We’ll be telling this story (with video!) sometime soon, but in the meantime, check out an awesome feature in The New York Times about it.
And like the Beal bottle location, we’re working hard at passing down important information for each new generation that comes along. Like to Angela Yuan, a senior majoring in environmental studies and sustainability, who is learning how to protect Michigan’s water. Read her Student View: Advocating for the environment to learn more about this hardworking Spartan.
Our seniors are getting ready for commencement and ready to take the hard work they learned here out into the world to take on new challenges. Check out a couple of them in last week’s photo gallery. Campus is looking beautiful, but the sight of students in caps and gowns makes it a really special time.
We are at a special time in history. We are at a time where we can wait for others to solve problems or we can be part of the solution. None of it is easy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” There is so much work worth doing for ourselves, others and the generations that follow. Let’s not waste a minute. Spartans Will.