Now that you’ve been in office for a little over a year, L.A., you should have a strong grasp of what goes down in this university. [la2]Yet these past couple of months have been filled with costly ups and downs. Your input has added to the forward movement MSU hopes to attain in these coming years, but sometimes, I still wonder where we’re headed.
Before we boldly step into the months ahead, let’s take a little time to reflect on this past year because learning from the past only creates a better future. As we know, every situation has (at least) two sides to the coin. With that said, I introduce you to Outlook I. Dealistic and Prospect D. Pressed, who will be evaluating some of the year\’s happenings.
[kat]Hurricane Katrina Relief
Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest storms to ever hit the United States. The devastation and damages the category 5 storm left behind in late August will likely cost the government $75 billion. Ouch. If only the levees had been fixed…
Outlook I. Dealistic: Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy that struck the nation but MSU reached out and decided to invite students from Loyola University and other New Orleans area colleges to study here. Students and professors also came together to send relief teams and supplies to the most affected areas, helping those who were very much in need. MSU is really starting to step out of its land grant bubble and into the world. Go State!
Prospect D. Pressed: But just because the media has left New Orleans, doesn’t mean that the tragedy is over. People in the most affected areas are still in need and what is MSU doing now to help them? We can’t stop a good cause just because the government and everybody else have stopped. There’s more that needs to be done. Perhaps MSU could offer special internships in New Orleans, and students could aid the city with rehabilitation.
MSU Financial Trouble
As a public university, MSU has always been in financial trouble and relies on the state for funding. Gov. Jennifer Granholm will decrease that funding by $14.7 million in order to balance the state’s budget deficit.
Outlook I. Dealistic: It always sounds bad for an institution to be in the red but this experience will only teach the administration to use the money we have wisely. Financial trouble can be a good learning experience for everyone involved.
Prospect D. Pressed: The administration might be able to tighten their belts and move on but the students are the ones that are going to be paying. Both student tuitions and ASMSU taxes are on the rise and for a public university that’s supposed to be funded by the state, students will only continue coming here if MSU learns to better use the money we do have.
[1]Relocated Medical School
The university is relocating a part of its medical school to the Grand Rapids area. This partnership project with Spectrum Health will allow an increase in admitted students.
Outlook I. Dealistic: The university has finally decided to make a much needed expansion toward western Michigan. Close to 100 medical students already study and work at facilities in Grand Rapids and this will not only help their future but stimulate the economy and regard of those communities’ already existing facilities.
Prospect D. Pressed: Yet, MSU is supposed to be an East Lansing establishment. A contract with the Grand Rapids community that requires them to give us $9 million a year to keep the school afloat doesn’t seem very reasonable. The university is already experiencing financial troubles, so where is it going to find another $70 million to construct a building to house the school? It seems we may have bitten off a little more than we’re prepared to chew.
Sesquicentennial Celebrations
MSU celebrated its 150th birthday this year. This past year’s sesquicentennial celebrations highlighted some of the accomplishments and traditions that have taken place since 1855.
Outlook I. Dealistic: The events put on by the university and the University Activity Board were exciting for students, faculty and staff alike. They brought back ideas and traditions long lost to MSU’s history and celebrated the changes the university made during these past 150 years. It just shows how much we have to look forward to in the next 150 years.
Prospect D. Pressed: The events may have been colorful but the majority of students felt no desire to attend them. The university may be able to accomplish a lot during a 150 year period but students often don’t feel a part of the big picture. Studying here four (or five or six) years doesn’t seem like much compared to the entire history of the university.
Snyder-Philips Renovations
Snyder and Philips dormitories will be closed for construction next year. Renovations will add a new food court style cafeteria and the classrooms needed for the Nelson Mandela residential college that will be located in the complex.
Outlook I. Dealistic: Liberal arts students have always been on the backburner at a university that has its roots in science and agriculture. Finally MSU has decided to recognize majors like English with a residential college on the same level as James Madison and Lyman Briggs. The university needs to attract more liberal arts students and this new program is just the ticket to bringing those students in.
Prospect D. Pressed: The new Nelson Mandela residential college may be good for equality and bringing liberal arts students into MSU but this program will ultimately only separate students on campus even more. Both James Madison and Lyman Briggs students are often seen as elitists and creating more elitists will create more separation among students\’ colleges.
Extended Meal Plans[caf]
Changes will be made to the MSU meal plan system starting next school year. By fall of 2007, University Food and Housing plans to have cafeterias open until midnight, seven days a week, unlimited meals for every student and limit Totally Take Out options to locations on campus.
Outlook I. Dealistic: Keeping students that need to stay up studying for tests until the wee hours of the morning on a rigid eating schedule has never been a good idea. The new plan to provide all students with an unlimited number of meals and extended cafeteria hours until midnight, seven days a week, will create more options for everyone. Students will also be able to eat many more smaller meals, a habit that’s healthy and good for their futures.
Prospect D. Pressed: It’s great to have more options but think about the people that are going to have to work until midnight every day of the week. The cafeterias rely heavily on student employees so unless they’re willing to pay a time and a half for students to clean up until 1 a.m. no student is going to want to work those hours just so everyone else can grab a midnight snack. The chicken wings and pizza late at night may make the \”freshman 15\” the \”freshman 20.\”
Northern Parking Ramp
A new parking ramp is being built on the north side of campus, east of Morrill Hall and south of Grand River Avenue. The seven story project costs $15.2 million and will add 725 parking spots on campus.
Outlook I. Dealistic: With 45,000 students and over 10,000 faculty and staff moving on and off campus daily, parking has always been a nightmare. The new parking structure being built on the north side of campus off Grand River Avenue is a much needed addition to MSU.
Prospect D. Pressed: But with more cars coming in and going out of campus, the traffic flow will be even worse. The university has just implanted the 2020 plan to put more green grass on campus and with a new parking structure that compromises the integrity of Morrill Hall and its historical value, nothing good will come out of more cars.
New Home Page
The university greeted its students, faculty and staff with a “second generation” home page web site after Spring Break. [web]The original page debuted in 1995.
Outlook I. Dealistic: MSU’s new home page is cleaner and more modern. Compared with the original, the new web site will attract prospective students to this technologically savvy university and the pages’ similar layout keeps the viewer’s information controlled. The site’s continued emphasis on spotlighting programs and professors also brings the 60,000 person MSU community a little closer to home.
Prospect D. Pressed: For students, alumni, and professors that have been using the web site for years, however, the new site is much harder to navigate. The quick links are harder to find and the “current students” section has too many links for the quick scanner to easily locate what she is looking for.
No NCAA Riots/Melee
When MSU lost to North Carolina in the Final Four round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament April 2 last year, police used tear gas to clear students from East Lansing streets. The university, the city and the students have been at odds about the incident.[ball]
Outlook I. Dealistic: After the riots and tear gassing that look place last year, the university made sure to take the first step this year. Fliers and emails were sent to students before the games even began to ensure safety for everyone on and around campus. And in the end, everyone was safe; there were no riots.
Prospect D. Pressed: There may not have been riots but that was because the Spartans didn’t even make it to the Sweet Sixteen. If we had made it to the Elite Eight or Final Four, the story would have been different. Students don’t generally decide not to wreak havoc because the administration decided to act early and put out warning fliers.
The road from land grant to world grant won’t be an easy one, but I do believe we’re headed full steam for the future. There are always a few bumps along the path, big ups and little downs, and with all these changes coming our way, next year is definitely one to look forward to. Like you would say, L.A., MSU is Boldness by Design.
Sincerely,
Outlook I. Dealistic and Prospect D. Pressed

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