Meet the Red Cedar Rowdies, MSU’s newest superfans

Meet the Red Cedar Rowdies, MSU’s newest superfans

One of MSU’s newest and most creative student sections—the Red Cedar Rowdies—are gaining recognition and respect for their dedication and clever ways of getting crowds excited for MSU sports.

The Rowdies are known for their dedication to MSU Men’s soccer team but have made several appearances at women’s volleyball games and women’s soccer games as well. Founded in 2012, the Red Cedar Rowdies have grown to about 50 members, and they have over 600 followers on their twitter page.

Recently, the enthusiastic Rowdies were named Student Section of the week by College Sports Madness.

You can catch the lively group singing all of their original cheers, exchanging clever banter with the opposing student section—and sometimes even opposing team members—at any of the home soccer games.

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Soccer is still loved by Americans, despite how its popularity compares to other sports

Soccer is still loved by Americans, despite how its popularity compares to other sports

            Many former youth soccer players remember the embarrassing picture button pins that our moms wore to our soccer games to cheer us on in our recreational soccer days as a youngster. We all played it, we all loved it.  For a countless amount of us, it was our first sport. So why did only a handful of us stick with it?

Photo credit: Cayden Royce

            Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but in America, few people can even name a professional American soccer team, let alone players. When it comes to football we all know who Payton Manning and Tim Tebow are. It’s easy for us to name off countless basketball and baseball players as well. Soccer just isn’t at that level in America.

International Perspective

            “Back home soccer is the number-one sport,” said Yerbol Zhakupov, a Michigan State University senior from Kazakhstan. He is a big fan of the game of soccer and has noticed many differences between the culture of the sport back home and here in America.

“I think one of the reasons it is so popular is the influence from big European tournaments such as the Champions League. Sometimes people back home have to stay up until three or four a.m. to watch the European games. Another reason it’s so popular is that soccer is a simple and affordable sport. All you need is ball. When I was a kid, there weren’t many soccer fields, so we would just play in an open field. Instead of the goal, we would use bricks, bottles or something else to designate the goals,” said Zhakupov.

            Zhakupov said he was not surprised that soccer is not the most popular sport here in America because there are so many other sports.  He believes that it’s easy for people to get bored during soccer because sports like basketball and football have a lot of commercials and activities in between their breaks to keep people entertained, when soccer has two 45-minute periods with a short 10 minute break in between.

            In Kazakhstan when there are big events such as the World Cup, or Champions League on television, people get together to watch the games. Zhakupov said that during the World Cup, games are shown everywhere. Bars, restaurants, and other public places designated for entertainment like bowling alleys, and billiards are usually filled with soccer loving people.

“There is no such thing as tailgating though. Maybe one day I will introduce this awesome pre-game tradition,” said Zhakupov.

MSU Student Perspective

Michigan State Freshman Sean Conerty, a midfielder for the Spartan men’s soccer team also notices the different views of soccer here in the U.S. Conerty has been playing since he was four years old and says that when he plays soccer, nothing else is on his mind.

MSU Soccer Fans in Fall, 2012. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

“I’m not bothered by the unpopularity of it here. It’s the sport I love and no one else has to, although they are missing out,” declared Conerty. “The only time I really notice it is when you compare it to other sports. The most we’ve had at our games is about a thousand, while home football games fill up the whole stadium that seats 75,000 or so and the Breslin fills up the whole venue during Men’s basketball games as well,” said Conerty.

Conerty admits that he watches European leagues more than American leagues. The reason for that being that there is far better competition and teams. Conerty recalls going to Europe this past summer to train and he could clearly see differences.

 “One of the clubs we trained at had a facility with housing. It was a school just for kids that played soccer. They would go to classes, then come out and train the rest of the day and they would even have fans at their training sessions,” Conerty said.

A History of Soccer

            Peter Alegi, an associate professor and soccer and global sports expert at MSU, has a contrasting view on the popularity of soccer in America. He believes instead of focusing on soccer as “unpopular”, we have to look at the history of the sport in order to fully understand the journey it has gone through.

                  Alegi pointed out that in the 1880s soccer was really the only organized American sport besides baseball, which started in the 1870s.  Soccer was huge when it first started. In the 1920s, the United States had one of the top professional teams in the world.

 “In fact, at the time when the American Soccer League was created, [the teams were] paying so well that many excellent players from Scotland and England came to play for them,” said Alegi.

            The Great Depression is what put a damper on soccer organizations in America.

            “The ASL was [at its] largest in the 20’s, but in 1929 the crash really undermined the fan base,” reported Alegi. Then of course, WWII did not help.

            Professor Alegi pointed out that when televised sports became big in the 1960s, unfortunately at that time soccer didn’t have a professional league. Therefore, TV was the tool that other professional sports teams used to become extremely popular.

            Alegi noted that by the time the World Cup came to the United States in the 1994, it was the best attended World Cup in the history of World Cups. “These are signs that rather than focusing on the unpopularity of the game in the United States, it’s really about the growth and decline. It has never been absent. In fact, right now I think we’re at a peak,” Alegi said proudly.

            When it comes to Americans watching European soccer, Alegi encourages it.

“I think that is one of the drivers. In other words, how can American soccer get better if we’re not engaging in the highest quality game overseas? That’s how kids learn their moves and that’s how their imagination grows and develops. You always want to follow the best,” said Alegi.

            Professor Alegi says that he doesn’t think soccer is going to become like baseball, football, or basketball, but it doesn’t mean that one should look at soccer in America as unpopular. It may never get to a super bowl level to where it can focus the attention of a nation, but Alegi truly believes we are moving in that direction.

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Living under a rock? East Lansing’s guiltiest pleasures please late night student cravings

Living under a rock? East Lansing’s guiltiest pleasures please late night student cravings

            Everyone has that one snack that you just have to indulge in every once in a while. In East Lansing students can’t seem to stay away from Goombas’s Pokee Stix and Insomnia Cookies.

Pokee Stix remains one of East Lansing’s guiltiest pleasures. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

We all know that Pokee Stix had your heart the first time you tried them. If you haven’t experienced them yet, you’re missing out on cheesy pizza breadsticks with any topping you want that are impossible to settle with just one piece.

What makes Insomnia Cookies so good? It could be the way that the cookies are made doughy, warm, fresh, and like to melt in your mouth on the very first bite.

“Students love cookies. They especially love them when they are quick and easy delivery cookies!” declared Dan from Insomnia Cookies customer service.

“The convenience of delivery and having a store right on campus really draws students in,” Dan said. “They especially come for the chocolate chunk and the s’mores deluxe cookies; those are our most popular choices.”

When Dan was asked what makes Insomnia Cookies special besides the fact that they are delicious cookies, he replied with the unique hours Insomnia Cookies is open. “We’re open 6 p.m. until 3 a.m., and when you’re on a college campus you know that everyone gets the midnight munchies. Also for our student employees it’s a good work schedule because it’s after classes and never conflicting,” Dan said. “We also get calls for cookie cakes with special messages like, ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Good luck on your test.’ Students really like to be creative with those kinds of things.”

“Another big reason why we get so much business is because our prices fit right into the student budget,” Dan added.

When it’s not your sweet tooth that is calling, Goombas Pizza is the place to go, or to order in. Pokee Stix specifically are the items students at Michigan State love to snack on.

“My friends and I all love Pokee Stix after being out late at night. We’re up until 1 or 2 a.m., and since that’s a long time after dinner we want something hardy and filling. Because there aren’t that many places open late, Goombas is always our go-to,” said Mackenzie Jebb, a freshman accounting major.

Mackenzie didn’t have a single negative thing to say about Goombas. “It’s easy, and delicious. Also we never feel like waiting, which is perfect because it gets here so fast,” she explained.

“Goombas never fails to hit the spot, and because we’re always with a big group it’s super easy to share,” said Jebb. “I don’t know if anyone is as weird as us, but when there are left overs they go straight in the fridge because they are so good cold.” Jebb claimed.

Goombas is open until 3 a.m. from Sunday until Wednesdays and until 4 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday, which makes it the optimal time for a delicious night snack.

In fact, their busiest time on the weekends is from around 12:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. according to Bob Jones, student employee at Goombas in East Lansing.

“Students enjoy Pokee Stix so much because it’s the most terrific greasy and satisfactory snack that you just can’t seem to get enough of,” Jones said. “Especially when it’s late at night and you’re not worried about what kind of food you’re eating.”

While there are other places on campus that sell pizza and bread sticks, none seem to satisfy the late night cravings of Michigan State students like Goombas Pizza does. Let your taste buds do the talking and try them for a starting price of $9.00, depending on how many you want.

Insomnia Cookies and Goombas Pizza have proven to be sensational late night snacks for students across Michigan State’s campus. With low prices, late hours, and foods that hit the spot like no other, it’s impossible to break the tradition of a midnight Insomnia run with the gang or a Pokee Stix delivery after a long night. Another bonus of these businesses is you can order online for both of them. Talk about easy. Next time you have a late night craving, keep these yummy places in mind.

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50 Shades of Lulu’s

50 Shades of Lulu’s

Being a female college student, one of the major “must haves” in our wardrobe is yoga pants. They are comfy and easy to throw on before class, yet still cute. The question is, how much are you willing to spend on your yoga pants?  Lululemon, which is a yoga and active wear company, has been growing in popularity and made itself very prevalent across the Michigan State campus. If that’s where you’re thinking about getting your yoga pants from, be ready to drop $80-$100 on a pair.

Photo credit: Carly Belsito

But what makes a pair of yoga pants worth $100? Wunder Unders prove to have great quality and are the some of the most popular products of Lululemon. They look like leggings, but are made out of a material called luon, which according to shop.lululemon.com, the fabric has qualities ranging from a four-way stretch, breathability, moisture-wicking, thick and snug. Also one of the best features of the Wunder Unders is that the wide, soft waistband is designed to eliminate muffin tops, but is it worth it?

Evie de Avila, a freshman English major, owns six pairs of Lululemon’s.

“Owning that many [pairs] of Lululemon’s yoga pants seems a bit ridiculous, but I absolutely love them and I know I get my money’s worth,” said De Avila. “I basically live in them.”

She said that she first found out about them in her junior year of high school from a cousin that lives in Canada.

“They were really big there,” she said. “I bought two pairs that year [2010] and they are in perfect condition. I still wear them now.”

Assuming that there are other yoga pants or leggings in the world with great quality, what makes these different?

Despite the other yoga pants or leggings in the world, De Avila said that many other yoga pants and leggings are sometimes see-through and they fade very easily. With Lululemon’s, that just won’t happen according DeAvila.

Communications freshman Hannah Femia was not a fan of the expensive Lululemon’s before coming to college.

“It seemed insane to spend $80 on leggings when you can get them for $20 anywhere else,” said Femia. “But once I got to school I realized that all I wore were leggings and yoga pants. Some of my leggings were see-through and I just wanted better quality, so I finally tried on some Lulu’s and ended up buying two pairs, and I wear them all the time. They are the easiest option before class and I can honestly wear them with anything, staying in and being comfy, or going out at night.”

Consumer Behavior expert Anna McAlister suggests the reason Lululemon can get away with selling their products for such a high price is simply because women continue to buy them at that price.

“Yoga pants have become iconic,” said McAlister. “A few years ago they were nothing more than functional items to wear to yoga. In consumer behavior we talk about goods having utilitarian and hedonic value. Utilitarian value means the good serves a purpose. It has a function. Hedonic value means a good provides some pleasure or serves a social need. Just like sneakers, yoga pants have both types of value. There are still some people who will care only for the utilitarian function but the hedonic value has become more and more a focus in this product category over time.

Even as college students on a budget, many females on campus still shell out the $80-$100 at a time. McAlister blames this on how we tend to “justify” our purchases.

“When it comes to something like yoga pants, we can sometimes ‘justify’ the purchase in our minds by saying something like, ‘well I’m more likely to go to yoga class if I enjoy the clothes I wear there.’ Expensive clothing is the treat you get for doing something good for your body,” she said.

Big purchases aren’t always easy to make, but whether or not a pair of yoga pants is worth the high price is something for the individual buyer to decide on her own. See what the hype is all about and try a pair on, or you can check them out online at http://shop.lululemon.com.

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Road block: Construction is leading to new and improved campus features

Road block: Construction is leading to new and improved campus features

Walking through campus you might have been noticing the bright orange cones, thick lines of tape and the melodious sounds of drilling and hammering. It’s construction season here at MSU, and it’s bee going on for awhile.

There are currently three large projects happening on campus. Reconstruction of the steam distribution in the West Circle Steam Loop, the Wells Hall Addition/ Morrill Hall replacement, and of course, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, which has become more commonly known on campus as “The Spaceship.”

West Circle Steam Loop

If you have classes around West Circle or along East Circle drive, you may have spotted the closed off sidewalks and construction workers carrying out the tough tasks of improving the steam distribution in the West Circle Steam Loop.

According to the MSU Physical Plant’s website, the steam tunnels are about 87 to 100 years old and have significantly deteriorated and require replacement or repair for a safer and more reliable operation. This will be a four-segment project, lasting from 2012 to 2015. During the construction the buildings in the construction area will be converted to a high-pressure steam and pressure-condensate return lines, which will improve energy efficiency.

So, if you are ever somewhere between Beal street and East Circle drive and happen to see a construction worker working out of a drain in the sidewalk, don’t be afraid to say hi and thank him or her for repairing our steam system!

Wells and Morrill Halls

On the north side of campus currently lies Morrill Hall, but not for long. Sadly, the over-100-year-old-building is reaching the end of its useful life, according to construction.msu.edu. It states that Morrill Hall has experienced irreparable deterioration, and because of this, will be taken down and replaced with an addition to Wells Hall.

The new Wells Hall addition will host the language department including English, Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages; Spanish and Portuguese; English Language Center; and French, Classics and Italian. Religious studies and African American studies will also relocate to Wells Hall. It is stated that the ultimate goal is to create a cohesive and vibrant community for students, faculty and staff.

Exciting additions to Wells hall also include a green roof on the one-story addition, a new and visible east-west entrance to Wells Hall, removal of on-street parking, creation of adjacent barrier-free parking and street realignment and widening.

Demolition to Morrill Hall, originally opened in 1900, will begin after the completion of the Wells Hall addition.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Last but not least, is ” The Spaceship”, or formally known as the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Located on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Farm Lane, the building will be constructed of steel and concrete with pleated metal and glass exterior. It will be adjoined by an outdoor sculpture garden to the east and plaza to the west. Also there will be unique gallery spaces, an education wing, museum shop, visitor shop and gathering space.

Photo credit: Cayden Royce

Not only is this a very popular museum on campus, but it has also drawn a lot of controversy from students and staff. Kat Krukowski, a freshman pre-med student described the building as “out of place.”

“Its a cool building and definitely something worth adding to our campus, but it is such a modern-style building and it’s placed on the older side by most of our historical buildings so it just doesn’t seem to fit,” said Krukowski.

We conducted a poll to see what Michigan State students thought about the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Of those that answered about 55% think that the museum is a great addition to our campus, while the other 44% think it is a waste of space.

A dedication ceremony has been set for Saturday, November 10. A live web cam is set to see the day-to-day construction via the construction website as well. With the opinions that have been expressed during construction of the museum,

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Our Spartan Nation Grows

Our Spartan Nation Grows

Seeing a few more bikes latched up on the racks? Or feeling a little squished in the student section at the football games? That’s probably because this year’s freshman class is the biggest in Michigan State University history.

The freshman class is built up of approximately 8,150 students, an increase of 350 students from the freshman class before.

“Admissions is more of an art than a science,” said the Senior Associate Director of Admissions, Mike Cook.

An increase of freshmen has meant that campus is busier than usual. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

He explained how students are admitted based on a historical yield rate, basically saying that they compare the amount of students admitted into MSU and the amount that actually decided to attend from the previous years.

“We figure out how many are qualified, then we have to compare numbers from the past to help us estimate the amount of admitted students that will decide to attend,” he said.

It could be the awesome atmosphere, the friendly people, great academics and athletics, or possibly even the Dairy store ice cream, but MSU just seems to have it going on.

“The interest in Michigan State has increased,” was how Cook put it.

Now considering all the new freshmen we have, the question that arises is how will they all fit?

MSU has one of the largest college campuses in the nation. Yet even with that, there were still approximately 942 freshman assigned to transitional housing, according to Laura Cole, assistant manager for the Housing Assignments Office.

“Transitional housing is an arrangement in which rooms are converted to house one additional student, typically on a temporary basis. Due to the steady increase of students at MSU, the demand for on-campus housing has increased over the years.  This year, as in years past, a small number of students in each residence hall will be placed in a transitional housing assignment,” said Cole. “As cancellations come in, transitional rooms are broken down and students are placed in permanent housing assignments as soon as possible. Each student in a transitional housing assignment will receive a rebate on their student account for the time they are in the assignment.”

Parking for bikes has been one of the cons to the surplus of incoming freshmen. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Assuming that there would be more students in transitional housing than ever, considering the size of this freshman class, Cole said that there were actually less transitionally housed students this year than last year.

However, for the past two years, there have been higher numbers due to the fact that two residence halls have been off line for renovation both years, along with two of the largest freshmen classes ever.

Taylor Winchester, a kinesiology freshman from Grand Rapids, was placed in transitional housing upon the first few weeks of living here.

“When I first was assigned to transitional housing, I was nervous about having to settle somewhere and then be uprooted and have to move to another dorm” she said.

Winchester was placed with four other girls (five total) in a dorm room in Akers Hall. Typically Akers dormitories hold four people per room. As you might guess, her room was a little crammed.

“I mean we’re girls, we have a lot of stuff…” she laughed. She also said she was very fortunate to live with awesome girls and they all got along really well. The downfall of course being that there were just a lot of things for one room.

Eventually they received an email from the housing department telling them they would have a few days to decide who was going to move out. As expected, this was a very tough decision.

“The situation was all kind of hard and the process was long, but eventually it ended up working out,” she said. “Over all my experience with transitional housing was an adventure and I wouldn’t have had it any other way because I was fortunate enough to live with four amazing girls instead of just three,” Winchester said.

From across the Red Cedar and throughout one side of campus to the next, be prepared to see many new freshman faces ecstatic to finally be at their new home for the next four years. Can you really blame them though? Our Spartan family will only grow more and more as the interest in MSU expands!

 

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