Maybe it\’s because the American presidential debates have been running all summer long, or maybe it\’s because most of us have been around East Lansing long enough to dream up how it could be a little better, but this year\’s new editorial staff decided to introduce ourselves by musing about what we would each do as the president of MSU. We would all have big plans for this university, but don\’t get too excited. For now, we\’re happily sticking to our roles as the editors of TBG.
Jessica Sipperley, Editor-in-Chief
I’ve never really thought about what I would do if I were the “president” of a large institution. (Being the “president\” of TBG doesn’t exactly wield the same kind of power.) Being in charge of MSU would certainly be a rush, but such a role would also come with intense pressure. I can’t even pick a movie for a group of friends to go see, much less make decisions that would affect thousands of students.[sipperley]
But if, by some miraculous event, I became the president of this university, I would seek to spark interest in the student body: to experience everything this campus has to offer. I recognize that this is close to impossible, but MSU has such a range of resources, diversity and special events, and these things cannot possibly go unnoticed. I’m just as guilty of apathy to some degree, but I still want students to relish the chance to care about so many things that they might not initially be interested in. We’re not just here to attend classes and take exams and write papers; we are exposed to a college experience that many people in this world are not lucky enough to have. And as the president, I’d show off this idea, all while wearing my professional best.
As the E-in-C, I want students to care about the issues on our campus as well. Our magazine is a vehicle that has the capacity to reach the entire campus. All of our lives are fully integrated with technology, whether it’s a personal computer or a convenient handheld device. The Internet is quite pervasive, and there is a huge opportunity for TBG to do the same. Our print issue from last year (and the one set to come out this year!) will certainly help, and so can our readers. I want our magazine to give exposure to extraordinary groups and events; I want to cover things that will make our readers stop and think. I know we can’t possibly write about everything on this campus, but this is certainly a start.
Kim Bale, Managing Editor
People say that while you\’re in college, the most important lessons are learned outside of the classroom. I completely agree with this and believe that\’s how it should be, but if I were president of the university, I would tweak the theory a tad. University requirements are meant to broaden your horizon and make you a well-rounded scholar, but when the back of your eyelids are studied more than the projector screen in a lecture hall, valuable time and money are being wasted.
[bale]I would propose an end to the required classes that many advisers suggest you \’get out of the way\’ your freshman year and replace them with classes designed to specialize your interests and generate knowledge and skills that appeal to you and will be helpful in the future. As for undecided freshmen, maybe set aside a handful of credits to be used for any general classes deemed necessary in declaring a major. When students are being told they have too many credits in the field of their major and they need to take more outside of the specified topic, I believe there is a serious problem.
Just as important, I believe I would require a test be administered to all students at MSU regarding modes of transportation on campus and the correct way to use or navigate them. This would hopefully help eliminate confusion when the walk sign switches to the flashing hand, or in understanding the correct direction to drive on a one-way-street. While I applaud the many new bike lanes on campus streets, I think more arrows are necessary as many bikers have a problem driving on the right side of the road.
So, my goals are a little far out, but so are the odds of my occupying the president\’s desk. There will always be university requirements and there will always be people confused by crosswalks and traffic circles, but l rest easy knowing TBG will be there to pass on these concerns to \”Dear Lou Anna…\”
Cara Binder, Managing Editor
Alright, I will be trite…but absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
I packed up my favorite possessions in May, moved out of my wonderful East Lansing neighborhood and settled down (for a little while) in a studio apartment in Minneapolis. Because of an internship I decided to skip out on my first semester of senior year and see what it’s like in a real journalism environment. The decision to give up part of my senior year was a hard one, but at the time I was jonesing to get out of E.L.
That said, if you would have asked me last May what I would change if I were president of MSU, I might have a nice-sized laundry list for you. It probably would have been filled with ways to make the campus more environmentally friendly, getting an independent movie theater in town and banning tank top-clad bar hoppers in December. Having been away, these things that MSU lacks become part of the city’s charm. On top of that, MSU was just named Campus Sustainability Leader of 2007, so apparently Lou Anna already has that under control.
On the other hand, we could definitely use a few alterations.[binder]
I was talking to a close friend of mine who goes to Kalamazoo College about the differences between K-College and MSU. Although I wouldn’t quite want to go to such a small school, Lou Anna could definitely take a few tips from their president. Two things stuck out to me, and they are realistic things, happening at a college near you. First of all, they have Random Acts of Kindness Days; this involves a truck driving around campus giving away free ice cream. Second, they have Day of Gracious Living. This is only once a year, and it happens on an unspecified day each spring. All of the students get an e-mail at about 8 p.m. announcing the next day of class is cancelled. For fun. What’s really impressive about this is not the day off, but the fact the college sets up bus rides for all of the students to go to a beach in South Haven. The whole college closes up shop and everyone goes to the beach.
If nothing else, I would certainly implement a Day of Gracious Living if I were president of MSU.
Trisha Poling, State Side Editor
The closest I have ever been to owning the title of president was my senior year of high school, when I was president of my school’s student council. While it was fun, and certainly a learning experience, I don’t think it quite qualifies me to run a university. However, in my fourth and final year at MSU, I definitely know what I would do if I was in Lou Anna K. Simon’s shoes.
After four years and at least 20 parking tickets, I’d have to say parking on this campus would be the first thing I’d change. I mean, what college student can afford the fortune this university charges us to park? Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but still. The next item on my agenda would be the nearly 10 percent tuition increase that occurred this year. Seriously Lou Anna, it’s got to go.[poling]
Now on to my more extravagant (or less realistic) changes. First and foremost, Michigan is too cold in the winter. I know the name Michigan State University wasn’t an accident, but if I were president, I would move all of campus south for the spring semester – somewhere in the Caribbean would be good. Also, having a Friday morning class during my last year here is just plain silly. I try to avoid Friday classes like the plague, but for some reason, it just didn’t work out for me this semester. Therefore, during my presidency I would outlaw all Friday classes. I think most college students would agree with me that we need more than just a two-day weekend.
Being the president of MSU might be fun for a day, but I think that’s the longest I would last. After all, I don’t think the MSU Board of Trustees and I would exactly see eye to eye. For now, I’ll stick with my post as State Side section editor for TBG this year.
Katie Sulau, Global View Editor
When I was first presented with the prompt “If I was president of MSU…” I immediately reverted back to a favorite childhood poem of mine, “If I Were in Charge of the World.” The girl in the poem asserts that in her world, an ice cream sundae would be a vegetable, hamsters would be healthier and bedtimes wouldn’t exist. She talks about the cancellation of Monday mornings, cleanliness and oatmeal. All of her assertions rang true to me as an eight-year-old, especially when the threat of a bedtime seemed more like imminent doom. Twelve years later I find it easy to relate to most of her demands. Except for healthier hamsters – while I definitely do not wish an unhealthy life upon the hamster population of the world, I have always found rodents difficult to warm up to.
[sulau]I don’t have the audacity to presuppose that I will be nor ever wish to be “in charge of the world,” but just for a second I’ll agree to entertain the possibility of “being in charge of MSU.” In that case, classrooms would be a thing of the past and instead our learning environments would be full of corduroy recliners, sectional couches and the occasional loveseat to accommodate the cutest couple in class. Everyone would be required to accessorize their bikes with streamers and horns only because traveling like you’re in a Fourth of July parade every day has got to be more fun. And whenever it rained, raindrops falling from the sky would be accompanied by fortune cookies, because who doesn’t like the course of their life decided in a single crack of a cookie? And we all know those days where getting out of bed to go to class seems like someone is demanding you walk to the end of the earth and back, so on those days I’d like the marching band to identify those poor souls and become their posse for the day, following them to class while playing any tune off of “Jock Jams” or maybe even “Eye of the Tiger.”
Maybe that’s a lot to ask, but I can’t help but be ambitious when it comes to my hopes and dreams for this campus. And since becoming “in charge of MSU” is not on my horizon, it looks like they will stay that way, only as hopes and dreams. But I know that one cold November morning when I’m hauling my sorry self to class, I’ll search through my iPod, find “Eye of the Tiger,” maximize the volume and know it is possible for parts of my dreams to become part of my reality.
Nicole Nguyen, Arts & Culture Editor
When we came up with the “If I were president of the university” theme for our introductory messages, my first thought was I wouldn’t want to change anything about MSU. I love this university and everything about it – almost. I could definitely do without some of the snow and cold weather. I’m a Texan, born and raised, and even though this is my third year living in Michigan, I still think that anything below 50 degrees is cold! But weather aside, there are a ton of things to love about MSU. My best experience with MSU was participating in a study abroad program the summer of 2006. The six weeks that I spent in London studying English literature were absolutely fantastic, and well worth the many thousands of dollars it cost me as an out-of-state student. (And I have my fellow study-abroaders to thank for introducing me to TBG – I wouldn’t be here without them!) I’d love to go again before I graduate in 2009 and experience a new place – perhaps someplace a little less like home where I can step outside of my comfort zone – but unless I receive some scholarship money I don’t think I’ll be able to go.[nguyen]
So, if I were president of the university and could make any change, I would make study abroad more affordable. The benefits of living in other countries and learning about new and different cultures are immeasurable – it allows you to come back to MSU with a fresh perspective about being a member of the global community. It tests your ability to adapt, even if you are only adapting to riding the Tube instead of CATA and using different currency. I truly believe studying abroad is one experience no student should miss out on – what better way get more students participating than by making the trip cheaper?
Lexi Biasell, Sex & Health Editor
[biasell]If I were president of the university, I would address those cafeterias immediately. Their menus have more fat than a liposuction clinic. Each dinner would offer several vegetables, every fruit in season, and nothing – NOTHING – fried. Everything would be fresh and the layouts would be organized by nutrient or mineral provided. For example, the protein table would include grilled chicken and several kinds of fish. Red meat would only be offered occasionally, and the salad bar would occupy the biggest space in the room. Dessert would include carrot-cake (as at least a nod to health) and zucchini cookies (want a preview? Check out Healthy Twist in the Sex & Health section!). Either way, our cafeterias should contribute to the overall well-being and health of the student body, not beef it up.
This year, I hope you add more green to your news diet, too!
Megan Sistachs, Photo Editor
Hi! My name is Megan Sistachs. I am currently attending MSU and pursuing a degree in studio art. What has led me to this major is my love for photography and the dream to some day be a photographer for a high-end fashion magazine. Even though I get homesick every now and then, my dreams have led me to move to Michigan from Miami (as a child I also spent a couple years living in Chicago). Although Miami is my home, MSU has a place in my heart as home away from home. This will be my third semester as being a part of TBG. Last year I started off being a staff photographer for TBG, and this year I am the photo editor.[sistachs]
If I were president of the university the only thing I would do would be to put air conditioning in all the dorms. This is my second year living in the dorms and in the summer time it gets insanely hot in these small rooms. With all the money I am paying for out-of-state tuition, they could at least install some kind of cheap air conditioning system. Even though it is cold through out most of the year, in the summer time and springtime of the year, it gets stuffy and humid in the rooms. It is hard trying to study in a room that feels like a sauna.
Thanks for reading,
The Big Green Editorial Staff