It\’s a new year at The Big Green, and that means a new editorial staff. We decided to introduce ourselves by answering that classic question, \”What Did You Do Over Summer Vacation?\” From studying abroad to packing in the hours at work or internships, we were quite the busy bunch.


Ashley Symons, Editor-in-Chief
[ashley]Since leaving East Lansing last spring, I\’ve been around the world. Well, not entirely, but I did cross the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I visited France, England, Scotland, Germany and Ireland over six-and-a-half weeks. Yes, I was one of the many MSU students who studied abroad this summer.
I participated in the Women\’s Studies in London program, and since my student loans are still in deferment, I can easily say it was worth every penny. It\’s amazing how much you learn about yourself once placed in an unfamiliar location. I learned how to be more patient. I realized I can navigate an airport or subway system by myself, but that having a good friend by your side is nice sometimes, too. I discovered my love for French coastlines, European history, and cheese.
Now back at MSU, swamped with the usual readings and meetings, I can hardly believe I was abroad just a few months ago. I\’ve almost convinced myself that I was never even there – that someone must have Photoshop-ed me into the hundreds of photos I now possess of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Guinness Storehouse. And like many wide-eyed young people who experience what it\’s like to leave home for a new place, I have the travel bug and can\’t wait to keep exploring.
I\’m graduating in May with a degree in journalism and then I\’m off to who knows what in who knows where. I\’m trying not to think about all that yet. For now, I\’m excited about the upcoming year at The Big Green. We will make every effort to continue to inform our readers in a thoughtful and progressive way. And we might even make you laugh once in a while.
Thanks for your support, and keep reading.

Molly Benningfield, Managing Editor
[mol]I was completely satisfied to sit at an outdoor café and drink tea while writing for my non-fiction class this summer. And in the completely humble and self-deprecating fashion I’m known for, I won’t mention that those aforementioned cafés were in Paris, Normandy, London, Edinburgh and Dublin.
This was a summer to remember, to put it lightly. I turned another year older in the middle of June and four days later found myself in another country. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever received.
For the first week-and-a-half of my European excursion, I hoofed around France with my constant traveling partner, Ashley, the editor-in-chief of this magazine, coincidentally, and Emilie, the foreign exchange student at my high school and best tour guide I could have asked for. I saw five different cities and villages around the northern part of France. And on the first night in London, I met two deejays who consistently told me where the good spots to go on the weekends were. In Scotland, one of the deejays was visiting his family, and took us out again. And by Dublin, we were seasoned vets. I was determined to “do Europe” as a non-tourist. After all, I plan on living there for at least a part of my life, so why not act like it already?
When I got back from the trip, I experienced my first real heartache. After spending the night at Heathrow (in London) during the recent terrorist bombing scares, I was ready to be back in West Michigan. But a week later, after the wearing off of family loving and a well-timed camping trip to Manistee, I started to get uncomfortable. I wanted to be back in London and bring everyone I loved with me. It was a strange feeling of being pulled in two directions, and I can’t say I’ve quite gotten over it yet.
And now here I am in the EL for my last year at MSU. I’m looking forward to spending hours perfecting pieces for my writing classes and learning just how screwed we really are in my environmental policy class. I’m excited to help people find their favorite books at the book shop I work in and leave The Big Green knowing I did a fairly decent job. But the most important thing to me before I graduate in May is to make the time with my friends last looooong. Because hey, I’ll be leaving them all soon enough for Europe, anyway…

Caitlin Dobson, Managing Editor
[cait]For the first time in about four years, I stayed within the country for an entire summer. I gotta say, it was a little weird trying to get used to being in one place for more than a couple of months.
Considering I can’t remember the last time I was in the country for the 4th of July, it was pretty nice (and a little surreal) to work at an actual job for the entire summer, go on a road trip, eat hot dogs in front of a camp fire and well, be a typical American.
After studying abroad four times (it can get old people, trust me), and usually being the one to say goodbye leaving my friends and family here in Michigan, it was bittersweet to finish my fourth year of undergrad with saying goodbye to two of my best college friends – one who’s off to Chicago to work and eventually fulfill his dreams of becoming a rock star (don’t worry, it’s not just another pipe dream) and another who’s off to Bishkek, Kyrgysztan, to fulfill her Peace Corps duties. Needless to say, I felt a little stranded and lonely here in quiet East Lansing for the summer, with only my City Pulse internship duties to fulfill and unusually quiet summer nights.
Now, as I finish up my last semester at MSU and prepare for graduation in December, I’ve found myself infected with a serious case of senioritis yet still dedicated to The Big Green as Managing Editor…and still obsessed with finding purpose through everything travel. While I plan to visit my friend in Chicago very soon and my friend in Kyrgysztan next summer during an around-the-world trip, leaving me with Antartica as the last continent I’ll have left to travel to, I’ll also look forward to my tentative plans to join Americorps in the fall and Peace Corps in the future. I guess until then, I’ll just get used to being an American in America…and helping The Big Green continue to rock your world.

[jessica s] Jessica Sipperley, State Side Editor
I’m Jessica, and this September marks my fifth semester as a member of TBG. I am a journalism and psychology junior. After spending two years as a writer for State Side, I was promoted to the official rank of State Side Section Editor.
This summer, I was the definition of a working girl. It turns out a part-time internship at my local paper did not pay, and it turns out I cannot make it through the summer without a steady paycheck. So, I skipped my day of rest and worked all the time.
For the second summer in a row, I worked as a lifeguard at Dunworth Pool in my hometown of Dearborn, Mich. The heat was constant, the tan lines were unflattering and the sunglasses lines on my face were intense. This was no country club gig, either: I yelled at children and scrubbed bathroom floors. My co-workers and I were busy, sweaty and well-trained; as a staff, we had about four saves per week. My photograph is of several Dunworth LGs hanging out over the summer; it turns out working over forty hours a week together just couldn’t keep us apart.
During the other two days of the week, I covered up that swimsuit tan with business casual skirts and heels to work at the Dearborn Press & Guide newspaper. I escaped the fate of many media interns: I never made coffee or picked up lunch. Instead, the editor took advantage of my free labor to ease the burden on the small staff, and I was glad he did. I had interviews, meetings and deadlines, and my clips were printed to prove it. At the end of my stint at the paper, the staff threw a party for the interns with a cake at 10 a.m. – pretty much the best thing ever.
In a predictable fashion, the heat of summer left in favor of the crisp autumn air and the season of school. But I can guarantee this year at TBG will be anything but predictable.

[kims]Kim Bale, Global View Editor
Hi! I’m Kim Bale, a journalism junior at MSU. I came to The Big Green late fall of 2005 as a Global View writer and am now editor of the same section. Coming from the small town of Fennville, Mich., population 2,000, it’s refreshing to share a campus with 50,000 people. My real interest is in print publications, specifically international news and magazines. My experiences with this magazine and my trips abroad have made my desire to photograph or write about global issues even stronger.
This past summer I was lucky enough to spend six weeks traveling through the United Kingdom on a study abroad program through MSU. Reporting in the British Isles allows students to spend time in England, Ireland and Scotland sightseeing, observing cultural differences and writing feature articles of their own choosing. It was the best six weeks of my life; I saw historical icons I had only dreamed of and made friendships stronger than those I’ve had for years.
We spent two weeks in London visiting various news agencies, including the BBC and Time Magazine. From there we traveled to Dublin, Ireland, and surrounded ourselves with the rich Irish history. We spent more time on three-day bus tours than any of us would’ve expected, but the end result was worth it. Seeing the rolling green hills of Ireland spotted white with sheep and the pouring rain replenish the infamous Loch Ness was like a vivid dream.
In short, I miss Europe! If money grew on trees, I would’ve spent more than 11 days in Ireland and a weekend in Paris, but who wouldn’t? I’ve got enough pictures and memories for side trips to Edinburgh whenever I feel the need, and it’s great to be back in East Lansing at MSU and The Big Green. For now, Go Green!

Cara Binder, Arts & Culture Editor
[caras]Let’s start with the ever-famous question: “What did you do this summer?” Were it to be any other fall I’d probably say, “Well I worked and went to some concerts, hung out with my friends and wanted to move back to school.” This, however, was an exponentially better summer than those past.
I’ll gladly be plopped into the category of another one of those kids who is obsessed with study abroad, because that is exactly what I am. I got an email last week about the upcoming study abroad fair and I immediately talked to some of my best friends on the trip and decided to volunteer at our program’s table so that we could look at our pictures and tell every single journalism student to go on Reporting in the British Isles. I never do that sort of thing.
Yes, we reported in the British Isles. I got to talk to some of London’s most prominent bar and opera house owners, interview Irish twenty-somethings about a small fishing town on the west coast and chat with an old bagpiper in Edinburgh, Scotland. The school part was absolutely phenomenal, but it is mainly skinny-dipping in the Atlantic, being nearly blown off a cliff with my brother and sitting in a bus soaked with Scottish rain that made this summer what it was to me.
Coming back to MSU made me realize the effect it had on me more than stepping off the plane or even spending the last month of summer at home. Traveling has made me want to see the world, to be sure, but I think the best part about it is that it also made me want to learn more about where I am in the world right now. Romping around Europe oddly made me want to hug MSU and everything in it. It made me want to do everything, so I suddenly have about 12 more things in my life than I did last year. It’s keeping me happy, and I’m currently looking for journalism opportunities in Edinburgh for 2008.

[beth]Beth Skubisz, Sex & Health Editor
I am junior journalism political science double major with an emphasis of pre-law, student at MSU. In my spare time, I practice saying my major without taking a breath. I wrote for The Big Green my freshman year for the Global Views section. Now, as a junior I made the drastic 180 degree turn into editing the Sex and Health section of The Big Green. I have worked for many online and printed publications. I worked for my high school newspaper, yearbook, and had a sports column in a local paper.
After graduating I will go to law school and freelance for Chicago papers. In my ideal world, I will retire early to a city loft armed only with my laptop, a weekly column, and my neo-hippie, liberal, political agenda.
Born, bred, and raised in West Chicago, Ill. I am the biggest Cubs fan you never did meet. It’s possible I am the most naive person in the world believing in the curse of the goat and endlessly praying to the baseball religion of “there’s always next year.”
I have many passions in life. A brief but essential list includes; politics, the written word, the character Josh Lyman on the West Wing, Her- Sensation condoms, thunderstorms, and Dunkin Donuts Iced Lattes with extra whipped cream.
This past summer I worked until I could no longer work anymore. I was born a work-alcoholic and seek treatment through bubble baths and hot tea. Summertime relaxation included bonfires, jam sessions, walks down the Magnificent Mile, and late night rendevous for laughter and coffee.
I work for the Sex and Health section of The Big Green because I am not afraid to tell the funny and the ugly aspects of sex. Words like penis, sex, anus, etc. are not gasp and censure profanities but forums for discussion. If there’s one essential thing you need to know about me is that I am in life for the fun of it. To quote a brilliant mind of Generation X, Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while you could miss it.” I think there’s validity in that statement-I mean he is a Cubs fan.

Jessica Yettaw, Photo Editor
[jessica y]I\’m a journalism senior with a specialty in art history. I joined The Big Green staff in 2006 as a photographer for the Arts and Culture section and then became The Big Green photo editor in fall 2006.
Over my summer break, I interned at my hometown weekly newspaper, The Harbor Light, in Harbor Springs, Mich. During my internship, I wrote a variety of feature articles and also did much of the paper’s photography. One of my articles I wrote had to do with two young men training in Harbor Springs for a shot in the 2008 Olympics in sailing. It was a fun internship because I received assignments that let me go boating and take pictures for the day and to get paid for it.

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