Dear Lou Anna

Dear Lou Anna,
As another year comes to an end, I find myself looking back on what the year has brought. Coming from out of state and finishing up my third year at MSU, it’s easy to reflect on what I’ve given to the campus. Tuition, parking permits, long days of classes and forging through icy weather seem to give the experience a negative taste. However, it also is important to realize what the university has given to me. L.A., the university has made a valiant effort this year to provide a variety of activities and breakthroughs that have made me proud to be a Spartan. From recognizing the importance of arts and culture to setting up universities abroad, MSU’s various initiatives this year have really put the college experience into perspective.

Year of Arts and Culture
As you know, L.A., each year is filled with performances, exhibitions and special events that demonstrate the artistic ability of the students. This year, however, the university went a step further. The MSU Cultural Engagement Council (CEC) named the 2007-2008 school year the “Year of Arts and Culture,” to get the entire campus involved in celebrating the arts.
The celebration included activities throughout the school year that featured various exhibits and performances on campus. It kicked off on Aug. 1 with a free tour of the MSU Museum. The landmark museum highlights Michigan’s natural history and culture, and has the state’s first Smithsonian Institution. According to Communications Coordinator Lisa Mulcrone, the Year of Arts and Culture (YAC) events conclude on Aug. 10 with the museum’s Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing.
Several of the year’s highlights included the 25th Anniversary of the Wharton Center, the anniversary of the MSU Museum and the anniversary of the Department of Theater. The year also signifies the opening of the new Residential College of Arts and Humanities and the newly designated College of Music.
But L.A., what I am especially impressed with was the CEC’s ability to involve the entire campus and make the celebration known across campus. A Web site was created to view all of the upcoming events, prices, dates and times. Each event was given a small summary, and had a link for more information. The Web site also invited the community to partake, as most events were open and free to the public. “I would say the year has been a very rich and rewarding one,” said Lora Helou, communications director for the MSU Museum. “We all know MSU is a big place, and helping package and promote our arts and cultural scene – especially through the Web site – has shown just how much MSU has to offer and given our audience a more centralized way to access information, learn more, find connections and enjoy the many events and activities.” [lora]
MSU has a wide variety of artistic resources on their campus, L.A., and it was about time they were celebrated. Through the YAC, students learned how arts and culture play a role in preparing them for life after college, something that a lot of Spartans don’t realize. Political science junior Andria Signore didn’t attend any events, but still realizes the significance. “My roommate had to go to a lot of the events for one of her classes. She went to a couple plays and performances, things I didn’t even know were offered here.”
Signore said once her roommate described the events, she had an interest in attending. “I’m really glad it’s not over yet because it sounds like something I would enjoy,” she said. “Our campus is really great about always providing new opportunities to experience things outside your major.”
Helou sees YAC as a start to something more. “In many ways, the ‘year of’ is just the beginning. We’re talking now about ways to continue promoting arts and culture at MSU, where there’s still much work to be done, with student groups, tapping emerging technologies, working with the community and more.”
L.A., creating the YAC was a great idea to unite the campus and pull together students from all of the different fields of studies to celebrate the achievements of MSU’s arts and culture.

Be Spartan Green
The Be Spartan Green program has been a year in the making, L.A., since you stressed the importance of MSU’s recycling program last year at Boldness by Design plan, created to recognize the university as the leading land-grant research university in the United States. And when the Board of Trustees approved the ‘Be Spartan Green’ recycling program earlier this semester, your plan was put into action. [year1]
The program will be the next step for supporting environmental stewardship on campus, and encourage all students and faculty to join the effort to make deep changes in ways the campus handles matters of the environment, from recycling office paper to turning off lights. The program has designed a list of 26 recommendations to improve MSU’s environmental position, and will begin with encouraging Spartans to make recycling a habit.
Economics junior Steven Romkema began participating in the program last semester when it was aimed strictly at cleaning up after football games. “Through [my volleyball club], during and after games we went around and collected cans from tailgaters,” he said. “There was a bunch of green containers scattered around symbolizing recycling centers.”
Small steps have been taken to encourage a campus-wide effort. Soon, a recycling facility will be located west of Farm Lane in the service district. As you know, L.A., the project will triple the amount of materials that are currently being recycled. What’s even better is the facility, although it costs a whopping $13.3 million, will pay for itself in 12 years, not affecting the tuition of students.
According to recycling program education manager Ruth Daoust, the recyclable materials will not be viewed as trash, but materials that will generate greater return. The recycling center will reduce labor costs and change the process that is used to collect materials. Instead of shipping the materials in boxes that are processed, the center will allow them to be sorted and shipped in bulk to be sold at a higher price to recycling facilities.
Romkema is optimistic about what the program will do for the campus. “Recycling after tailgating kept the area a lot cleaner and there weren’t as many bottles and cans after the football games,” she said. “This program will get the entire school in the habit of cleaning up after itself and keep the entire campus greener.”
Signore agrees the program will be extremely beneficial to students at MSU. “Everyone should get in the habit of recycling because it’s a small price to pay for a huge end result.”
L.A., by taking small steps such as reducing the energy use in the 579 buildings on campus, and scheduling classes efficiently to reduce the heat and energy costs, you will train our university to get in the habit of recycling not only physical materials, but energy as well.

Dubai Agreement
It’s no secret, L.A., the Dubai Agreement was an enormous breakthrough for our university. By signing the agreement in September to open a branch of the university in Dubai International Academic City, you have moved MSU closer to becoming the first North American university in the Middle East.
You have said teaching and research throughout the world are important educational components for the future. By supporting this agreement, MSU will show the world the extensive knowledge and innovation our university is full of. Not only will we bring our culture to the academic city, but we will be recognized globally for our efforts. [year2]
L.A., this was an extremely positive step forward. MSU will still have full academic authority and quality control over the courses and programs offered, and students will receive standard diplomas. John Hudzik, the president of global engagement and strategic projects, explained new developments have the project moving forward at a fast pace.
According to the Dubai Web site, the university will encourage the same values you have instilled in us. While the college will be a mix of MSU and Dubai faculty, the majority of the student body will be made up of mostly Dubai citizens. This will give another country the opportunity to have the same great educational experience that we Spartans already have.
And the project has resonated well with most students. Romkema, for one, looks forward to new developments. “If they want to go international, that’s a really good location,” he said. “In that region, there are no major universities so it would be great to bring a taste of MSU over there. It’s an area that’s growing really quickly.” [jessica]
Signore agrees. “The Middle East can experience what a wonderful university that we have. I think it’s great that we are bringing education to the other parts of the world.”
This was an excellent choice, L.A. It gives Spartans something to be proud of, and feel they are influencing other parts of the world. We are unified as a school as we provide greater opportunities to other countries.

Research Breakthroughs
MSU scientists have been hard at work over the past year, L.A. Two specific research breakthroughs occurred during the past year and have had a positive impact on the world at large. Researchers have discovered how to turn corn into biofuel, and additional researchers conducted a study on breast cancer treatment. [year3]
First off, researchers have found that an enzyme from a microbe living inside the stomach of a cow is the necessary ingredient to turning corn plants into fuel. By breaking down the corn into simple sugars, they can be used to produce ethanol to power cars and trucks. This is known as Spartan Corn III. According to Mariam Sticklen, professor of crop and soil sciences, this is a huge step for biofuel production. By being able to use the entire corn plant, more fuel can be produced with less cost.
L.A., this will do huge things for MSU, and it is a giant step forward for science and technology. “This does great things not only for our college but for the environment,” Romkema said. “Hopefully it helps lower gas prices.”
Signore was less optimistic, fearing we shouldn’t be too hopeful yet. “It’s great to explore other options, but I hope they aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket. Let’s look for options besides ethanol.”
Not only have scientist experimented and found new developments, they have also challenged previous research by conducting a study that looks at the current research done on breast cancer. They have found current treatment options could actually be risky for the patients. “What we’re concerned about is people will think, ‘Well, the scientists are going to come up with a cure, so we don’t need to worry about prevention,'” said Charles Atkin, university distinguished professor of communication.
Researchers have found even though many characteristics such as family history and age can lead to breast cancer, there are many steps people can take to reduce the risk. Activities such as exercise, a good diet and avoidance of harmful substances and behaviors can limit one’s chances of getting the cancer.
Romkema thinks it’s great students are pushed to find alternative measures to previous research. “Anything we could do to get closer to a cure for cancer is awesome. Finding ways to prevent it is even better.”
Signore agrees new research is always beneficial, regardless what has already been discovered. “Especially for me as a woman, this new information is really helpful and creates the mindset that we can’t just wait for a cure, we need to take action in prevention.”
For the most part, L.A., students seem to be pleased with the various university initiatives that have been implemented this year. From showcasing artistic performances to creating a campus abroad, MSU took major steps in 2007 and 2008 to advance the university’s place around the world.

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Preparing for the Polls: Hillary Clinton

Editors’ Note: Come next January, we will be seeing a new face in the White House. This political shift is one of the most anticipated in recent years and carries with it the future of our troubled nation. For the past several months, the political fervor has been high: candidate signs are stuck firmly in lawns, people are glued to CNN/YouTube debates and Bush countdown clocks adorn key chains and office desks.
To say the least, this election year is an important one, and TBG will be taking an in-depth look at one hopeful each month in an effort to get a conversation started on campus about who we want to run our country. By November, you should be well prepared to cast your ballot.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has a lot working against her. She and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) have been neck and neck for most of the 2008 presidential campaign, and following a string of losses – including 12 straight caucus defeats – most political analysts considered her campaign dead. While Obama has been favored for his young, vibrant persona, Clinton has been known for her grave determination and ceaselessly fighting for her beliefs, despite the latest opinions from media analysts and political pundits. [hil11]
The most recent example was her fight to win the state of Mississippi primary on March 11. According to The Washington Post, polls showed Obama led Clinton by a fairly wide margin, but she decided to compete in the primary anyway. Even as she arrived in the town of Canton for the state’s annual Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer Dinner, it was evident she was in Obama territory. Fans and supporters of the Illinois senator greeted Clinton with large signs and fliers, and outnumbered her own supporters 3-1. “I’m well aware that Senator Obama has an enormous amount of support here, as well he should,” she stated. “I wanted to come to Mississippi and say that I’m in favor of Mississippi. I’m in favor of you.”
Political theory senior Katherine Deptula commended Clinton’s perseverance. “The wins in Texas and Ohio were really big for her,” she said. “These victories are propelling her forward.” Deptula, who used to hold a position with MSU’s chapter of Students for Hillary Clinton, continues to be a supporter of the candidate. “I chose Hillary because she has experience in advocating, and understands what issues are important to the U.S.” She also argues Clinton is the best candidate to move the U.S. forward in foreign affairs. “I know a lot of candidates say that they have knowledge in foreign affairs, but I think Hillary is the only one who can back her claims.” [hill]
Clinton cites much of her knowledge of foreign affairs and her strengths as a candidate stem from her political background. After completing her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, Clinton attended Yale Law School. There, she served on the Board of Editors of Yale Law Review and Social Action, and interned with children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman.
Clinton also gained experience during her term as First Lady, spanning from 1992 to 2000. One of her major projects was chairing the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, where she was an advocate for health insurance coverage and children’s health. She updated the American public on her work in the White House with a weekly newspaper column titled “Talking It Over,” explaining her observations on women, children and families she met around the world. Clinton has carried these projects and ideas into her 2008 campaign for president, making universal health care one of her top priorities.
In 2000, Clinton became the first First Lady to be elected into the Senate, taking her post in New York. Architecture junior Alex Herman of Hamburg, N. Y. is impressed with the work she’s done for the state. “I definitely think Hillary has done a good job as a senator. I agreed with her energy policy for foreign oil, and she has represented her constituency well,” Herman said. However, while Herman feels Clinton’s liberal policies in the Senate worked for New York, he thinks they may be a little too much for the entire U.S. “I know that she has a social service program she’s trying to get passed where it’s basically people coming into your homes and teaching you how to be a parent. I don’t think the people of the United States are going to agree with that.”
One of Clinton’s strengths is her ability to bring out the female voters. According to The Washington Post, the nation’s largest political action committee, known as “EMILY’s List,” began targeting female voters in both Ohio and Texas. The committee supports Democratic women candidates for federal office who are pro-choice, and Clinton is their ideal candidate. Mailings and radio commercials carrying the simple message “Vote for Hillary Clinton” encouraged female voters to head to the polls. When Clinton won both states in the primary, women comprised 59 percent of voters in Ohio, and 57 percent in Texas, beating out Obama among women by 16 points in Ohio and 11 points in Texas.
In March 2007, the National Organization for Women (NOW), a highly influential women’s advocacy group, gave Clinton their endorsement. Press secretary Mai Shiozaki has been working with the press to get Clinton’s ideas and policies out to the voters. “I make sure that our volunteers are out there talking to the people, and that the media understands where Hillary is coming from,” Shiozaki said.
NOW’s Political Action Committee has been working with the Clinton campaign for more than a year. Through events such as “House Party for Hillary,” the Political Action Committee has been gaining volunteers in the Midwest to advocate Clinton’s causes. President Kim Gandy has been speaking on NPR International, breaking down the steps of Clinton’s campaign to the media.
Shiozaki said the organization’s greatest assets are their volunteers. “One of our strengths is grassroots organization and activities. Through unpaid volunteers, we are going to states like Ohio and knocking on doors promoting Hillary’s campaign. We have older feminists driving vans in snowstorms to get elderly men and women out to the polls to show their support.”
Social relations and policy junior Emily Castle has taken matters into her own hands. Castle singlehandedly founded MSU’s chapter of Students for Hillary Clinton, and is the organization’s president. “About a year ago, I noticed an overwhelming support for Barack Obama,” Castle said. “I had researched him and other candidates, but Hillary always stood out to me.” While Castle noted Clinton being a woman was certainly an appeal, it is not the only reason she supports her. “First and foremost, she is the smartest candidate for the job. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s a woman. I think she’s proven that she can succeed in a ‘good old boys’ club.'”
Packaging junior John Pulcipher doesn’t allow the idea of Clinton being a woman completely influence his vote. “I do think Hillary has the most experience, but her being a woman doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I am voting for the candidate that would do the best job for our country.” He said the face of politics is changing and becoming less of a “man’s game.”
“Our governor is a woman. Government officials are no longer just men, and I don’t think it’s a big deal that Hillary, a woman, is running for president,” Pulcipher said.
[hil3] Despite her appeal to Castle and various women’s organizations, many MSU students do not consider her to be the best fit for president. Hospitality business junior Tess Grohoski doesn’t like Clinton’s policy on the war. “I don’t like that she thinks she can just ‘end the war in Iraq.’ It has been years of sending men over there, and she thinks she can fix it like it hasn’t been going on for ages.” Grohoski believes Clinton doesn’t have the right strategy to end the war. “She thinks she can just take the troops out and then offer the Iraq government advice. How about you just fix what we did, then take them out and leave the country alone?”
Other students have less specific reasons for disliking Clinton. Business and pre-law junior Elle Subar already has her mind made up. “I don’t like either Democratic candidate. I don’t know too much about them, but Hillary makes my stomach cringe. There’s too much hype in the media about her being a woman. I’d rather have a candidate who focuses on the issues,” Subar said. Subar said she is supporting Republican candidate John McCain in the election.
Everyone seems to have an opinion as Clinton and Obama prepare for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, which has 158 delegates at stake. On April 16, ABC News will host a debate, the 21st televised match-up between the two contenders, to give Pennsylvanian voters one last chance to compare the candidates.
Deptula understands the pressure on Clinton to earn the Democratic nomination, but remains optimistic. “I think as she continues to gain supporters, she needs to do a lot of campaigning in Pennsylvania. That is one way to surpass Obama.” Deptula said one of the ways Clinton can gain more voters is to come to a deal over the Michigan primary. Because Michigan scheduled such an early primary, the candidates were stripped of all their delegates. Although Clinton won the Michigan primary, many don’t think it was a fair win because Obama and John Edwards, still in contention at that point, were not on the ballot.
Currently, a plan is being considered that would allow the state to hold a new primary in early June, allowing delegates to attend the party’s national convention in Denver this summer. Clinton was recently in Detroit campaigning and promoting a Democratic do-over. She said ignoring Michigan voters would hurt the Democratic Party in November.
[pres2] While Clinton still has a long way to go, Castle remains enthusiastic. “Sure, Obama is very good speaker and talks about bringing change to Washington, but Hillary has proven otherwise. She has shown me that she can not only talk about change, but make it happen.”
While Clinton’s leadership and determination in her campaign has sparked the interest in a lot of voters, her battle to win can sometimes come off as too domineering. “I think she comes off as a bitch,” Herman said. “Sure, I liked her as a senator, but right now I support Obama. I’m inspired when he talks, whereas Hillary just seems power-hungry.”
Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton is hot on the trail of the campaign for the Democratic bid. She has the resources and experience to get the job done, but without the support of the American people, she cannot make it into the White House.

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