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Aug. 11, 2021

Editor's note: Summer sights and sounds

When I came to MSU as a student, I came sight unseen. I never came for a campus tour, didn’t have a family member who went here and hadn’t even been to a football game. I had set foot in East Lansing exactly twice before I moved into Campbell Hall — once to visit my friend’s sister and once at my summer orientation program. It wasn’t until my first fall semester that I realized how lucky I was to be living on such a glorious campus.


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I’m not yet ready to give up summer. I’m still hanging on to the hot weather, outdoor activities and have a beach trip planned. And, because I live so close to campus, I get there quite a bit to enjoy the summer splendor. The sights and sounds of lazy, hazy summer days on campus renew, inspire and soothe the soul.


Last weekend, I was dog-sitting my daughter’s pup, so I decided to take her and my dog for a walk around MSU. My dog is a frequent visitor and was more than happy to play tour guide for her “niece.” We hit up all the regular stops, snapping the obligatory photos for Instagram. The only sight better than campus icons are adorable dogs posed in front of them.


Since we know not everyone can get here to enjoy all that campus has to offer in the summer, some of my extremely talented colleagues did everyone a favor and put together a beautiful video of 60 seconds of Spartan summer. It’s lovely and well worth a minute of your time. Trust me, you’ll feel very relaxed. One colleague said it should be played during spa treatments. Another said it was “like the human visual equivalent of a puppy thunder shirt during a storm.”


I’m looking forward to a bit of more relaxation when I hit up a Lake Michigan beach soon. We Michiganders love our lakes, that’s for sure. A recent study by some MSU researchers found that regardless of political leanings, those who live near the Great Lakes overwhelmingly favor the protection of lakes, streams and wetlands.


Protecting them means finding ways to control invasive species that threaten them. Sea lampreys are particularly yucky and have threatened native fisheries for decades. Multiple teams of MSU scientists are using the lampreys' natural instincts against them to control them.


If I happened to run into a lamprey while swimming, I might have a heart attack. They are really, really scary looking. OK, that might be dramatic but I still would be incredibly startled.


Detecting heart attacks before they strike is a key to saving lives. A team of Spartan researchers has developed a new imaging technique using light, sound and nanoparticles to better detect plaques that cause heart attacks and strokes. I’m not sure exactly what a nanoparticle is, but I’m sure glad there are scientists who do and are using them to solve a major health issue for so many people.


Speaking of health issues, we’re still dealing with major cases of COVID-19 in this country. Last week, the university announced new vaccination and mask mandates to protect the Spartan community. Knowing that there are a lot of questions students, staff and faculty have, the university put together a comprehensive list of FAQs to help.


We’ll soon be on campus together and we must do everything to keep ourselves and each other safe. This goes beyond COVID-19. Building a truly safe and inclusive environment takes all of us. This week, the university released a framework to inform efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion.


For Kelly Holsinger, a senior majoring in entomology, studying remotely provided her with opportunities she hadn’t had while being physically on campus. Read her Student view: Flourishing through remote learning to learn why she advocates for online options that help students like her.


Whether we’re on campus or not, humans spent a lot of time in buildings and they consume a lot of energy. Dong Zhao, a researcher and construction engineer, is designing ways to retrofit old buildings for large-scale efficiency using human behavior. He’s a brilliant Spartan who was recently honored with a National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Award, which is a very prestigious honor.


When you do get to visit campus again, if you haven’t been here in a while, you’ll find some incredible new buildings and spaces on campus to check out.


Bob Reising, an alumnus of the College of Arts and Letters and member of the MSU baseball team from 1951-55 has returned to campus many times after graduating. He still remembers specific teachers, mentors and classes that made an impact on his life. Read his Alumnus voice: Indebted to Michigan State for 70 years to read more about his history as a Spartan.  


We all have our own histories tied to our time at MSU. For me, it started as a student, then an alumna and now for years as a member of the communications staff. There’s no doubt being a Spartan is part of my DNA. Every sight and sound I’ve experienced is ingrained in my memory and shapes my days. Open your mind, Spartans. Take it all in. Appreciate the beauty around you and create memories that last a lifetime. #SpartansWill


Lisa Mulcrone 

Editor, MSUToday


Top image by G.L. Kohuth



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