Touring This Town

During the summer months, students still hanging around this college town are usually in one of three situations: broke, bored, or both. Summer employment can provide some relief to the financial burdens lingering from the previous semester, but not all jobs are paid (and few are paid well). Musical performances and the bar scene are well-publicized in terms of entertainment in the East Lansing area, but these venues easily become repetitive. However, other inexpensive places are available close by for everyone – the penny pinchers, the pedestrians without access to transportation, the knowledge seekers and those who just want to free their inner child.
MSU Museum
Location: On West Circle Drive, adjacent to Beaumont Tower.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday though Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p. m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost: FREE
Many students fail to give the MSU Museum a second glance as they pass it on their way to class. However, one student has been going there for years and highly recommends it to others. Alicia Barajas, a special education junior, is a Lansing resident who attended Eastern High School. \”I\’ve been going to the museum every couple of years since I can remember, on field trips and such,\” she said. \”They always have really interesting exhibits coming and going.\”
Current exhibitions at the museum are Redwork: A Textile Tradition in America, Workers Culture in Two Nations: South Africa and the United States and Weaving History: A Basket Heritage Project. \”The museum exhibits connect global issues to Michigan and the MSU community, which is really important because sometimes we feel so detached from the outside world,\” Barajas said.
Kresge Art Museum
Location: At the intersection of Auditorium and Physics roads, between the MSU Alumni Chapel and the MSU Auditorium.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays (except Thursday), 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: FREE
The Kresge Art Museum can be found in the Kresge Art Center on campus, which is also home to the MSU art department. \”It\’s hidden away and not very well advertised, so most students wouldn\’t think to go there,\” said Alyn Kiel, an ANR communications sophomore. Kiel visited the museum for the first time in April. \”I thought it was awesome because, for its size, it offered a great deal of artwork from different time periods and regions of the world,\” she said.
The museum features various styles of artwork among its collections, ranging from ancient to contemporary, European to Islamic, and sculpture to photography. \”My favorite piece was a photograph by Lalla Essaydi – it was beautiful,\” Kiel said.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum holds a number of temporary exhibitions, such as Working in America: Photographs from the Ewing Galloway Agency, Circus: The Art of the \”Strange and Curious\”, and Sorrow Unmasked: Images of Grief, Mourning and Remembrance. Both the Circus and Sorrow Unmasked exhibits will go on display May 5.
Abrams Planetarium
Location: On Shaw Lane, adjacent to the CATA Transportation Center.
Hours: Family Shows at 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Feature Shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $3 for adults, $2.50 for students and senior citizens, $2 for children.
Some students might only know about the Abrams Planetarium because they wanted to take a supposedly easy astronomy class, but it is also a good place to visit for fun. The planetarium has two ongoing shows that are open to the public: a Family Show and a Feature Show. \”The Sky above Mister Roger\’s Neighborhood\” is the current Family Show and \”The Search for Life in the Universe,\” narrated by Mr. Spock himself, is the current Feature Show. A current sky talk, which uses a Digistar projector to mimic the night\’s sky, follows both shows.
\”The shows are very well done. They were very interesting and informative,\” political science and journalism sophomore Adam Kirschbaum said. \”Also, the chairs were really nice – the way they lean back.\”
It can also a fun kind of place to bring a date. \”Going there has always been something special,\” Barajas said. \”Even back when my parents were dating, they would sometimes have dinner and go to the planetarium, instead of the regular dinner and a movie. It\’s a place that\’s unique to the campus and is something really great and different to do.\”
Michigan 4-H Children\’s Garden
Location: On the corner of Bogue Street and Wilson Road, near the Plant and Soil Sciences Building.
Hours: Open everyday, until the sun goes down.
Cost: FREE
Not just for kids, the Michigan 4-H Children\’s Garden is over half an acre in size. It is comprised of more than 60 individual theme gardens, from the Storybook Garden to the International Garden to the Wild Garden. The gardens are separated into eight themed areas: Sunburst, Amphitheater, Treehouse, Rainbow, Butterfly, Pond, Maze and Chimes.
\”It is so pretty out there, an amazing place for a picnic,\” Kiel said. \”It has to be the most beautiful place on campus. Once the weather is nice outside, the gardens are gorgeous.\”
Potter Park Zoo
Location: 1301 South Pennsylvania Avenue, south of I-496 near Mt. Hope Road.
Hours: Open every day, from 9 a.m. to dusk.
Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for Lansing residents, $2 for children 3-15, free for children under 3.
Lions and tigers and red pandas (sorry, no bears), oh my! The Potter Park Zoo houses more than 100 species of animals, from the frightening to the cute-and-cuddly kind. \”It\’s a great place in Lansing – not many students realize it\’s even there,\” Barajas said, who has worked at the zoo for the past five years. Barajas believes the zoo is the perfect place to take a date, parent or little siblings. \”It has something that will appeal to everyone,\” she said.
Attractions at Potter Park Zoo include camel rides for all ages, pony rides for children, a petting zoo, and peacocks that freely roam the grounds, in addition to the animal exhibits. Of course, the exhibits are the main attraction. \”We just got a brand new river otter exhibit. It\’s set up so that visitors can see the otters swimming underwater or playing on the grass at the same time,\” Barajas said. Also, just outside the zoo is a river trail along the Red Cedar River.
\”The pavilions located outside the park are a good place for picnics and barbecues,\” Barajas said. \”You can watch the ducks and there\’s a playground for kids.\”
FunTyme Adventure Park
Location: 3384 James Phillips Drive, off Jolly Road.
Hours: Open every day at 10 a.m.
Cost: $14 for a Big Adventure (one Adventure Golf game, two Can-Am Kart rides, and 10 Adventure Cove Tokens).
Miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages and arcade games are among the things to do at FunTyme Park, just south of campus in the neighboring town of Okemos. \”It was definitely a fun time,\” Kiel said. \”I went there with a big group of about 12 to 15 people and it was pretty fun.\”
Open seasonally, FunTyme is a great place to spend the day with friends when it\’s nice outside, Kiel said. \”I think it would also be a cute place to go on a date,\” she said. \”The mini golf course was of a better quality than I might have expected and the go karts were just awesome. Everything was pretty cheap too.\”
Zap Zone
Location: 902 Elmwood Road, near the Lansing Mall.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost: $7 for one game, $12 for two games, $16 for three games.
Across town, all the way out by the Lansing Mall, there is a place where stressed out college students can take out their frustrations on their closest friends. Zap Zone Family Fun Centre is the self-proclaimed \”most advanced laser game entertainment in the world.\” Visitors are equipped with phasers and computerized vests, and then they are sent into a multi-level laser tag game with the objective of \”deactivating\” the opposing team and their base.
\”There are two floors in the main laser tag area, with many different paths and places to hide, so it makes for an interesting game,\” Kirshbaum said, who went with his fraternity brothers as a social event. At Zap Zone, up to as many as 30 players split into three teams can play a game of laser tag at one time.
\”It was so much fun,\” anthropology and linguistics freshman Erin O\’Connor said. \”I went with my hall mentor – we had a great time. It was only $12 for two games, which isn\’t that bad. And if you go on Tuesdays, it\’s only $4 a game.\”
Michigan Women\’s Historical Center
Location: 213 W. Main Street, six blocks south of the Capitol.
Hours: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost: $2.50 for adults, $1 for students (5-18 years old), $2 for senior citizens.
The Michigan Women\’s Historical Center, along with the Michigan Women\’s Hall of Fame, is housed in the Cooley-Haze House in downtown Lansing. \”If I remember correctly, Michigan is the only state in the country with its own women\’s history museum,\” said Cindy Rushlow, an English senior and intern at the center. \”Like any museum, it is an interesting way for students to learn about the past – and in the case of women\’s history, about a past that is almost never voiced.\”
The historical center\’s newest exhibit, which opened April 17, is Women Who Changed the World: The Second Wave of the Women\’s Movement. It \”looks at the many changes that occurred for women from 1962-1983, including expanded employment opportunities, greater social freedoms, more access to education and greater access to politics and leadership roles,\” Rushlow said. \”The Hall of Fame has hundreds of honorees, all from the state of Michigan and entirely different areas of achievement who are nominated by the public and then every year a panel of judges votes on new honorees.\”
Take off
Many of these attractions are available all year round, right on or close to campus, but in the busy life of a student, it is often too easy to just blow right by them. This college town is filled with a wide range of activities and things to see, from blasting a laser tag gun to learning university history. The summer months provide the chance for the bored and/or broke to explore these often overlooked venues.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Dear Lou Anna

Dear Lou Anna,
During the past academic year, MSU has seen the arrival of two new members to the Board of Trustees. In November, the residents of Michigan elected Democratic candidates Faylene Owen and George Perles to replace Republican incumbents Dee Cook and Dave Porteous. The two began their eight year terms as trustees on Jan. 1, and since then, the two have participated in the board decision-making processes. So far this year, board decisions have included approval of a new College of Music, changes to the Duffy Daugherty Building, plans for an osteopathic medical school and the location and name of MSU\’s College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids. All of these issues have gotten considerable amounts of attention from the board, but are students taking notice?
\”The board has an ongoing challenge of trying to stay involved with students in a visible way,\” said Roger Ludy, a supply chain management senior and chairperson of the ASMSU Student Assembly. He believes the board has continually lacked a strong tradition of involvement with the student body.
In addition, the board has not failed to notice the lack of visibility among students across campus. \”They\’ve felt that some of their efforts have not been as rewarding as they\’ve wanted them to be,\” Ludy said. However, this has not disheartened the board in its efforts. In particular, Owen and Perles have expressed interest in increasing the board\’s involvement with students. \”They would like to be involved with things that students are already doing rather than create new things for them. There is an interest in getting involved with existing student organizations on campus,\” Ludy said.
The Student Liaison Committee to the Board of Trustees is one group currently used to present student issues to the board. On the day of the trustees\’ monthly board meeting, the liaison committees speak with the board over breakfast beforehand about things on their agendas. \”If changes aren\’t happening below the board level, then I take to the board to get pressure from the top to get the ball rolling,\” said Ludy, who is also the Student Assembly\’s representative to the committee. \”It\’s one way that we try to accomplish our agenda to improve student\’s experiences.\”
In the past, there has been criticism of the board by local media for apparent secrecy and lack of communication with students. Materials science engineering sophomore William TenBrink believes there has been little effort from the board in the past to establish a strong relationship with MSU students. \”I think that the only people who feel like the board has an impact on them are the people who go out of their way to find people who have impact on them,\” TenBrink said. \”They\’re virtually invisible on campus. I\’ve never seen any of them doing any kind of meet and greet, where they just meet students and get their views.\”
[board] However, one of the new trustees has committed herself to connecting with students around campus. Faylene Owen has made it her goal to meet regularly with small groups of three or four students. \”The main thing I did during the campaign was express that I wanted to have a chance to listen to students at least once every three months, which I have done,\” Owen said. She has met with students twice during her term so far, once in January and again in March.
\”A number of students contact me all the time. I called back three or four of them that could meet when I wanted to meet,\” Owen said. From the students, Owen said she heard mostly positive things about their experiences. There were \”minimal\” negative comments, she said. \”One is, of course, the parking situation. You hear that all the time. The other negative is tuition,\” she said.
[pearl] So far this year, those concerns have not been a part of the board\’s agenda. \”I have only been to two board meetings, but we have not addressed the parking issue. There just isn\’t enough parking around campus. However, where they can\’t park they have the CATA system, which is a plus,\” Owen said. \”As far as tuition is concerned, the state government is just slashing funding. We need to make sure that we have top notch professors teaching at our school. That means when we get less and less money we have to raise tuition.\”
It seems the issues emphasized by the media, such as the location of the osteopathic medical school, affect a minority of the student population; however, issues like a lack of campus parking will have an impact on nearly every student during their four years at MSU. If that\’s the case, L.A., shouldn\’t the board change its focus and lean toward addressing problems that many students would like to see solved?
Interdisciplinary studies in social science junior Grace Wojcik said there are other issues that deserve the board\’s attention. She also believes the board itself could operate differently to better suit the needs of the students. \”There should be a student on the board or someone who just graduated, someone who actually knows what the students want because there\’s more to everything than tuition,\” she said. \”There are also issues with how the school is run and the bureaucracy of it all.\”
An issue that largely affects a majority of students is the rising cost of tuition. Many students pay their own way through school, and with the increased costs, the pocketbooks take a hit with the increased cost of each credit hour. Students are at MSU to get a worthy education, from highly-educated professors with relevant class agendas, L.A. – the cost of tuition should reflect the university\’s desire to retain students. This issue could be a big reason why Perles was elected to the board, since his campaign platform during the elections last year was focused on keeping down the cost of tuition. Perles primarily would like to provide assistance for middle class students.
\”[Tuition] was the only thing I really emphasized,\” Perles said. \”The wealthy take care of themselves. There are Pell Grants available for the poor. So, I am concerned about the middle class. My number one thing is keeping tuition down, but I will do everything I can to make things better for students.\”
Despite the positive outlook on the board\’s future expressed by Perles and Owen, TenBrink believes the addition of these two new members to the board will not keep the board from continuing to allow \”the university to squeeze us [students] dry both financially and socially.\”
\”I would say that their number one goal of keeping tuition down is a joke. Look at the laws they put into effect regarding tailgate on campus. The entire university used to come together for that and with a couple exceptions, everything went peachy,\” he said. \”Now we\’re separated and thrown off campus. Then you\’ve got the City of East Lansing capitalizing on that, and separating us even further.\”
In an obvious call for change, Perles and Owen were elected to replace two incumbent members of the Board of Trustees. Their election is a clear indication that voters want to see some previously ignored issues addressed, or they are tired of the board\’s past operations. In order to gain the confidence of the student population, the newest trustees need to work especially hard. They have been given the opportunity to prove their worth, as well as the worth of the board itself. Efforts like Owen\’s meetings with students may be a step in the right direction toward increasing the board\’s visibility among students, but it is only a beginning.


Watching N. Waiting

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Telling Her-Story

[girl]Women’s suffrage. Women’s liberation. For many students, these two subjects may represent the extent of their knowledge on women’s history. And while the history of women encompasses far more than giving women the right to vote or the second wave movement of feminism, prior to the 1970s, the women\’s studies field was nearly nonexistent. For this reason, organizations like the National Women’s History Project have helped to establish and promote the celebration of March as Women’s History Month. “The month was created during the aftermath of the 1970s women’s movement as a consequence of women’s liberation,” said Lisa Fine, history professor and interim director of the Program in Women, Gender, and Social Justice. “It was an effort to commemorate women as actually having a history.”
In the books
Fine believes Women’s History Month plays an important role in increasing public awareness, which is beneficial to history as a whole. She sees the celebration as being especially important in lower education, although it is often oversimplified in classrooms. Still, some history is better than no history.
“Historically, women have been left out of history and must be written back into it,” said Lydia Weiss, a sociology junior and the director of the MSU Women’s Council. “Otherwise, it will be assumed that women never made history, and that is just not true. Women have had extremely significant impacts on the history of this country and abroad. It is essential for women, especially young girls, to realize that women have the power to make a difference, and what better place to learn that than in school in a history course.”
For many students, women\’s history courses provide an opportunity to learn history from a perspective that was left out of traditional textbooks. “Ideally, men and women\’s history will be one entity,” Weiss said. “But currently they are not because women are not covered in typical history classes…and many people never learn about the wonderful gains women have made throughout history unless they take a women\’s studies or women\’s history class.”
Grace Wojcik, an interdisciplinary social science junior, enrolled in a women\’s history class for that reason. “I wanted to take a women’s history course because of the fact that most history classes focus on male history and events that happened with men,” Wojcik said. Wojcik is currently taking Women in the U.S. Since 1869, an American women’s history course taught by Fine.
Advertising junior Phil Squier took the class in order to “round out” his knowledge of history. “I have always liked history and I have taken a few history courses… This class looks at history through the different perspective of women’s history,” Squier said. “It’s interesting to learn about what hasn’t been written.”
[suffrage]Traditionally, history books have highlighted the accomplishments of men: brave war struggles, admirable moves made in the Oval Office, determined negotiations with foreign nations. Men have been at the forefront of the nation’s historical development, and as a consequence, women usually do not get equal attention. “I had never realized how women weren’t making it into the history books, how a lot of their history had been skipped over like it didn’t exist,” Squier said.
History books tend to take a different tone when students move beyond elementary and middle school. In higher education, women’s history courses have provided many students with a new perspective on historical events. “Over the years, students have said they have never looked at history this way before,” Fine said. “It’s looking at history through a different lens, which can be eye-opening. Some students will get mad, some will gain perspective,” she said.
The curriculum allows students to extend their knowledge about women’s history past the broad themes and topics that have always been emphasized. “I knew about major things [in women’s history], but it’s interesting to learn about the little stuff that’s not publicized or deemed as a big deal: things like women in trade union leagues or how radical suffragists were for their time, that they believed in other causes, too,” Wojcik said.
Another professor in the history department, Anne Meyering, sees women\’s history as “a form of social history that just asks different questions.”
The historical lens
The current methods historians have used to approach the study of women’s history have undergone a number of changes since the field’s inception in the 1970s. It began with the “victim school” way of thinking, Fine said. The victim school involved documenting the ways by which society treated women as second-class citizens. At the time, Fine said that this was both “disturbing and empowering” for women.
Also, during this time, the ‘stir and mix’ method of women’s history was prominent. Stir and mix involved the view that “there were also women” present in the past, Meyering said. Under this method, historians simply added women to existing records of history, creating an illusion of balance.
Following these schools of thought, women’s history began to concentrate on famous women of the past and the specific contributions of women, Fine said. This included honoring women like Betsy Ross, the wives of presidents, and “women firsts,” such as the first astronaut and the first woman to serve in Congress. Today, thanks to the emergence of social history, women’s history has shifted toward looking at common women. Social history encourages viewing society from the bottom up instead of simply admiring those women who have risen to the top of a social scale. And while these changes have added new perspectives to the field, Fine said the older methods of studying women are still practiced by a number of historians.
“Women’s historians look at women within their context, operating in their own worlds,” Fine said. “There are still people doing victim school work, which adds layers to how women’s history is studied.”
Female futures
The most recent changes to the field of women’s history involve what Fine described as a movement into gender. This new form of study involves looking at history in terms of gender and the ways the genders relate to one another, rather than just looking at women. A gendered view of history also requires seeing the genders as being complimentary, Fine said.
As a part of gender history, it is also important to realize the diversity within the concept of gender. “Gender is not just male and female – there are also transgendered people,” Meyering said. “[People often see only gender as] men and women, yin and yang … black and white.”
The curriculum at MSU allows students with many majors and specializations to select from a variety of women’s history courses. The majority of such courses are history classes, such as Women in the United States to 1869 or Families in Historic Perspective. Students can choose Women’s Studies as a specialization as well, which is a recent development at MSU, considering how long women have been a part of history. Additionally, many of the courses offered dealing with women\’s history have begun transititions into gender history.
Meyering believes gender history is a “major revolution in the way we think of humanity.” She said it involves criticizing and breaking down the conventional ways of thinking. Since women’s history and the methods by which historians and students study that history evolve as time goes on, the celebration of Women’s History Month will continue to be an important tradition for recognizing women’s contributions.
Although celebrating Women\’s History Month is important, some argue women\’s contributions should be recognized year-round. “I agree with having a time to recognize that women make a difference in the world, but I think it is ridiculous that we are expected to celebrate women for a month,” Weiss said. “Same goes for Black history or Chicano history months as well. It suggests that we are supposed to set aside a little chunk of time during the year to celebrate this group of people, but we must realize how marginalizing this is. I personally celebrate women every day of my life.”

Posted in State SideComments (0)