Students rank MSU Sparty’s locations

Students rank MSU Sparty’s locations

Students only get one combo-exchange a day, so pardon us for being a little picky. We took a poll, and the votes are in and MSU students’ least favorite and most favorite Sparty’s locations on campus are…

Top 3 Least Favorite Sparty’s



#3. Communication Arts and Sciences Building

This location has earned its spot at #3 because students believe that it simply isn’t well stocked or an appropriate size considering the amount of traffic the Communication Arts and Sciences building receives. Coffee, bagels and other standard Sparty’s items are available at this location, but many complain that more should be readily available. As the nearest Sparty’s to students in the CAS College, the School of Packaging and those attending class in the Natural Resources building, customers do not appreciate its lack of variety and accessibility.


#2. Shaw Ramp (CATA Station)

Students describe the Shaw Ramp Sparty’s as a little bit… let’s say, unpredictable. Some claim to be unaware that it even exists at all! While its location sounds convenient, it may not seem as so when you miss the bus after waiting in line at the one-manned cash register to purchase that Sunbelt Bakery granola bar and apple juice.

Some students are also turned off by the general appearance of the CATA Station’s interior.

“The CATA (station) is already gross, so it makes the Sparty’s look gross,” said human biology sophomore Talia Winston. “It’s off-putting.”


#1. Wonders Hall

The smallest and (almost unanimously) least-loved Sparty’s on campus is Wonders Hall. As the only residence hall in South Neighborhood lacking its own cafeteria, this location fails to offer substantial options to residents and those who visit throughout the day. With little to offer aside from the ordinarily stocked items like cereal, pop-tarts, and sandwiches, students feel that it’s safe to say the selection does not make up for its size.

“They don’t really have anything,” said Wonders Hall resident Kelsey Bouteiller. “(It’s) pretty basic.”

Top 3 Most Favorite Sparty’s



#3. Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall

For students with classes at the Eli Broad College of Business, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall is the closest Sparty’s nearby and the perfect choice when Starbucks just isn’t enough. This location provides a variety of combo-exchange possibilities to students with a menu that changes daily, offering dishes like fajitas and more.

“It’s big and you can come in and sit down. You can order Chinese food for your combo,” said human biology junior Chika Unaegbu. “It tastes better than the cafeteria.”

The Garden Wok Express station is a feature specific to this location. Students can find orange chicken and General Tso’s chicken at this station to substitute for an average combo-exchange item.


#2. Brody Hall

At #2, this Sparty’s has influenced many Michigan State University students to appreciate their combo-exchanges. In addition to its restaurant-style setup, this location is equipped to serve chicken wings, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, french-fries and mozzarella sticks.

Second-year Sparty’s employee Marlori Allen called it “real food.” That’s what helps the Brody Hall Sparty’s stand out among the rest.


#1. Hubbard Hall

At the top of the list is Hubbard Hall’s Sparty’s Café. This location, similar to Brody Hall, has the ability to provide cheeseburgers, chicken wings and other hot food making it a place where many enjoy getting their combo-exchange. The most popular option is the famed chicken tenders. Its large seating area with comfortable booths and televisions also makes this Sparty’s a suitable spot for students to snack and study.

So, are you spending your combo-exchange in the right place?

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10 New Year’s resolutions MSU students should consider

10 New Year’s resolutions MSU students should consider

It’s that time of year, folks! 2015 is upon us and with it comes the tradition of making a New Year’s resolution. For those of you who haven’t decided on one yet, check out some of the following ideas:

1. Get involved

Michigan State University offers endless opportunities for students – clubs, organizations, and groups galore. Browse the university’s website and explore social media to check out what’s coming up on the calendar. Ask your friends, friends of friends, even post on Facebook that you’re interested in putting yourself out there.

2. Apply for a part-time job

I think by now we all understand that college is expensive. Not only can a part-time job help ease the debt, but it can also influence you to better manage your time. The knowledge of having to go to work may keep you from wasting any spare time you have and rather utilize it to finish class assignments. MSU’s location near Grand River Avenue provides numerous potential employment possibilities. In addition, there are on-campus options like Culinary Services, Student Ambassadors, Neighborhood Facilities and more.

3. Be a smarter spender

If you currently have a job or are looking to apply for one, make it a goal to balance the use of your paycheck in the New Year. For students who hold accounts with the MSU Federal Credit Union, call or walk in to discuss creating a savings account to deposit the money you make that isn’t needed to pay for housing or rent, food, and maybe the occasional shopping spree or movie night. There’s an MSUFCU located on campus in the Student Union building.

4. Decide your major

It’s time! If you haven’t already, try a meeting with your academic advisor. These professionals are available specifically to guide students in discovering where they fit. Career Services also offers a test that evaluates students based on their interests and skill set. Or maybe you just need to find out what you’re good at, so try new things. Your future profession could be something you haven’t even experienced yet.

5. Find inspiration

Sometimes, all someone needs to find is an idea that inspires them to move forward. Inspiration can push you toward a goal, whether it’s a career, a relationship, or personal growth. A dream board can be a perfect way to formulate this vision. Grab your favorite family photos, newspaper/magazine clippings, Instagram printouts, whatever it may be that inspires you. Throw it all together on a poster or bulletin board and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

6. Kick your caffeine habit

School is important, yes, but so is your health. Don’t depend on caffeine to keep you awake during those late night study sessions. Manage your homework schedule so you can get a good amount of sleep at night and lessen the need for an unnatural boost. In addition, try substituting that second or third cup of coffee with a tall glass of water.

7. Find your “spot” on campus

For some of us, it’s impossible to study or accomplish anything inside the walls of our own rooms. Luckily, MSU’s large campus offers a variety of buildings to escape to – 6 libraries, 2 Starbucks, the Student Union, and more. Your “spot” may not even be a place specifically established for study purposes. It could be a bench in the MSU Botanical Garden where a light breeze carries away the worry, a quiet classroom on the third floor of Case Hall, or even an empty table in the laundry room where the delicate hum of the dryers can really help you focus.

8. Create a bucket list or accomplish something on your bucket list

Everyone has one or two things that they want to see or do in their lives. Whether it may be to travel to Paris, France and take a picture with the Eiffel Tower or to get a tattoo, try and make it happen this year! From the musical words of Rent: “No day, but today”.

9. Take the bus less, walk more

This idea coincides with the “get healthy” resolution that many people attempt to accomplish in the New Year. However, during the first couple of weeks following January 1st, fitness centers across campus fill up more quickly as “resolutioners” show up to get fit. The simple action of choosing not to take the bus to Anthony Hall, or wherever it is you’re going, allows the opportunity to burn some extra calories with minimal effort.

10. Be happier

College can get the best of all of us. You’re not alone in feeling discouraged at times. Is your GPA getting you down? Not adjusting well to campus life? Having trouble branching out? Use this year to stand up and make a change. Don’t worry. Be happy.

These are just a few resolutions that you can try this year. If you have an idea that’s more personal to you or a goal you want to reach, go for it!

From all of us at The Big Green, have a happy New Year and make 2015 your best year yet.

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MSU Celebrates Coach Tom Izzo’s 20th Season

MSU Celebrates Coach Tom Izzo’s 20th Season

As the Spartan basketball season opened on Nov. 14, the game against the Navy marked more than just the first win—it simultaneously marked the beginning of MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo’s 20th season.

Since 1995, Izzo has coached his way into the hearts of Spartan supporters. Students and fans routinely purchase tickets season-to-season for the opportunity to cheer on the team in green and white and stand by the beloved coach who’s not only changed the spirit of basketball at Michigan State, but strengthened school pride as well.

Sophomore Ben Limb works under the MSU Association of Future Alumni as one of three Directors of this year’s Izzone.

“[Izzo has] just transformed the idea of athletics at this school. He has this mindset that it’s not just ‘basketball is life’,” said Limb. “He cares about [the player’s] studies, he cares about their character. He cares about so much more than just the game.”

Coach Izzo regularly participates in a variety of activities on campus such as supporting the MSU football team at Spartan Stadium and attending the Izzone Campout to greet and spend time with his number one fans.

The Izzone Campout takes place every year prior to the start of basketball season. The committed MSU student season ticketholders, regardless of weather, show up at Munn Field to hear Izzo inspire the crowd and share the excitement of yet another year of cheering, shouting, and jumping up and down until their legs hurt.

“I don’t even know if you can put it into words how big of a character he is,” said MSU sophomore and Director of the Izzone, Lauren Honer. “Any interaction I’ve ever had with him has been so positive and exciting. I don’t know if I would say he’s like a celebrity on campus, he’s more like an icon. Everybody feels like they know him.”

Lauren Honer with Coach Izzo

Lauren Honer with Coach Izzo

This year also marks two decades since the establishment of the Izzone, and some things are changing at the Breslin Center.

“The upper bowl [student section] is not only just the upper ring, now, they have a strip of the green seats so they can sit down, they have backrests on their seats,” said Honer. “They’re more together rather than spread out in the top three or five rows like it used to be. They have a section.”

Sophomore Scott Kolasa, a second-year season ticketholder, said he believes the change will encourage unity in both sections of the Izzone.

“Last year when I was in the upper bowl it was kind of like we weren’t even a part of the game,” said Kolasa. “We were so high up that it was hard to see…we didn’t even feel like an actual student section.”

The MSU Association of Future Alumni has realized how great of an impact the Izzone has on those who attend. To keep the spirit alive for recent alumni, they’ve planned a reunion game.

“They get one game over Christmas break where they get to come back and be in the Izzone again,” said Ben Limb.

The reunion game is set for Jan. 5, 2015. Izzone alumni will get to watch the Spartans—and Izzo—take on fellow Big Ten basketball powerhouse Indiana.

“I think [Izzo] is honestly one of the best coaches in college basketball and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody,” said MSU student, Scott Kolasa.

Izzo’s professional reputation and record speak for themselves. However, in addition to his abilities as a coach, it’s the person he is off the court that makes him an adored figure at Michigan State University.

Director of Marketing and Communications for the Izzone and MSU junior, Lauren Pereny said, “[Izzo] wants everyone to be together, be respectful, and be there for basketball, and also be there as Spartans.”

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Mono — What is it and how to identify it

Mono — What is it and how to identify it


Mononucleosis is commonly nicknamed the “kissing disease” on college campuses. As it turns out, the name isn’t that far from the truth.

“I always hear about people who say they got mono in college,” said human development and family studies freshman Claire Lynch.

The seemingly elusive illness is transmitted through the exchanging of saliva – which includes sharing drinks, eating utensils, lipstick or lip gloss—and yes, even kissing. Its symptoms vary in commonality from person-to-person, making it difficult to identify.

“Typical symptoms of infectious Mononucleosis include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands in neck and fatigue,” said Dr. Suman Kashyap, Associate Director of Clinical Affairs from Olin Health Center at Michigan State University.

Kashyap said mono is most common in young adults starting at age fifteen. The illness can be erratic on a college campus where the average age group ranges from 17 to early twenties.

The earliest indicators include fever, nausea or loss of appetite and headaches. The appearance of these symptoms ranges from four to six weeks after initial exposure, according to a brochure from the American College Health Association, which is given to students at Olin Health Center following a diagnosis of mono.

Michigan State senior Lauren Starr has been experiencing symptoms of mono for about five weeks. She described the illness in one word—exhausting.

“My worst symptoms have been my extreme exhaustion and fatigue as well as the symptoms I experienced just after getting diagnosed, which included a persistent fever, sore throat, and swollen glands in my neck and spleen,” said Starr.

Starr said that mono has kept her from carrying out her normal routine. Her biggest battle—not being able to be physically active.

“I have not been able to work out which is something that I am used to doing every day,” Starr said. “There is potential for the spleen to rupture if it is hit or aggravated when someone has mono, which can be life threatening if it were to rupture.”

Dr. Kashyap reinforced Starr’s statement, saying it is a physician’s recommendation to wait at least four to six weeks after initial diagnosis before continuing with normal physical activity.

When it comes to a full recovery, not many medications are able to combat the illness—it takes more than a simple prescription to recover.

“Maintenance of adequate fluids and nutrition is important,” Dr. Kashyap said. “It is advised to get extra rest, but bed rest is unnecessary. Some medications may be required only if complications develop.”

Olin Health Center sees an average of 180 to 200 cases of mono in a year. It doesn’t occur more frequently in one season over another, so transmission of the illness can occur year-round.

According to the American College Health Association, if you have symptoms that are similar to those stated above, it might not mean you have mono, but it is encouraged to see a health care professional to be evaluated.

“Mono has affected every aspect of my life and I can’t wait until I am back to normal health,” said Starr.

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A Clean Plate for Akers Dining Hall

A Clean Plate for Akers Dining Hall

College cafeterias have gained a reputation for being, well… not that great.

Since 2009, Michigan State University has been renovating its cafeterias to defeat the negative stereotype associated with residence hall dining. As part of a proposal that Residential and Hospitality Services calls the Dining Master Plan, seven cafeterias on campus have undergone major renovations. The remodeling of Akers dining hall in East Neighborhood will mark completion of the Dining Master Plan following its opening in January 2015.

Anticipated appearance of Akers Dining Hall after construction. Photo via Eat at State

According to Infrastructure and Planning Facilities, the Dining Master Plan was designed to create “an integrated approach to neighborhood dining across campus, aligning dining capacities with projected changes in housing occupancy to meet demands and needs for any given part of campus”.

The planning process for the reconstruction of the Akers Dining Hall dates back to January of 2013 when Culinary Services hired the architect for the job.

“Akers Dining Hall closed May 2014, and major construction began,” says Matt McKune, the assistant director of Residential Dining for Culinary Services and project manager for the remodel. “Preliminary construction (infrastructure and fire suppression installation) began in March 2014”.

The redesigned cafeteria will have capacity said to seat 400 to 550 and will offer a modernized dining experience for Akers Hall residents and other Michigan State University staff and students.

“The dining hall is receiving a full renovation, complete with new seating and new food venues,” states McKune. “The food venues include a sandwich station, dessert station, pizza station, a stir-fry station, a tandoori oven, a smoker for smoked meats and vegetables, a grill and a salad station.”

Accounting sophomore Mae Kastros called Akers Hall her home during her freshman year. The renovation has her considering a trip back to her old stomping grounds to put the new cafeteria to the ultimate taste test.

“I think [the renovations] will definitely add an appeal to the cafeteria because last year, the sandwich station only had hamburgers and chicken sandwiches,” shares Kastros. “I would consider returning once the dining hall opens again, just to see how much it has changed”.

The Akers Dining Hall will join the six cafeterias on campus that have been remodeled as a part of the Dining Master Plan. Cafeterias that include Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall, Holden Dining Hall, South Pointe at Case Hall, The Vista at Shaw Hall and, most recently, Heritage Commons at Landon Hall.

Heritage Commons reopened its doors on August 23, 2014. Eat at State says it was the first major renovation at Landon Hall since it opened in 1947.

Landon Dining hall after renovation

Alex Myslinski, a resident at Landon Hall says that the changes made to the cafeteria have enhanced his living experience on campus.

“With a continually great menu and opulent atmosphere, the dining hall gives me a sense of pride to invite friends and family to share in it,” Myslinksi said.

With the reopening of the Akers Hall Dining facility just around the corner, students and other diners aren’t the only crowd that culinary services hopes to receive. Employees to equip the cafeteria are also in demand.

“Each time culinary services has opened a new dining hall, we have increased offerings to students.” McKune said. “This will be the case for the new Akers Dining Hall as well.”

The Akers Dining Hall is set to open to students in January 2015.

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Students still have time to LiveOn

Students still have time to LiveOn

With projects due and finals approaching, finding housing for next year is something that slips many students’ minds.

For on-campus housing, the online sign-up concluded at midnight on April 1, 2014. But never fear, there are still many on-campus options available.

“There are spaces in every neighborhood and whole rooms in most,” said Mary Lou Heberlein a representative from LiveOn.

LiveOn is the Residence Education and Housing Services program that is run by the university. They place students in housing each year.

All students live on-campus as freshmen, but at the end of the year when most off-campus housing is already filled, on campus is still a good option for upper classmen.

West Wilson Hall. Photo via Flickr

Roughly 14,500 or more students sign up each year to live in on-campus housing. A good part of these students are sophomores, juniors and seniors because of the benefits of living on-campus.

“Living on campus is recommended for at least two years,” Heberlein said. “Not only because Living On at MSU is awesome, but because research shows that students who do get better grades, are more involved in campus activities, have more interaction with faculty, feel more connected to the campus community and are more likely to graduate on time.”

More benefits to “living on” include free laundry, access to Math and Writing Centers in each neighborhood, as well as the combo exchange available at Sparty’s locations across campus to those who live on campus.

Laura Cole from LiveOn said that these resources promote “a cohesive community environment that students have indicated is something that is important to them along with having easy access to the many resources available on campus”.

“As a freshman, I was very unaware of how to sign leases or anything that involves getting an apartment. Living on campus was familiar and easy, overall, it was the most convenient and best option for me,” said sophomore Ruth Archer.

Freshman, Wayne Askew has chosen to live on again within Case Hall, the residential college for his major, James Madison

“It’s convenient. All of my classes are in the building and everything is right here. All the resources I need are only a few minutes away,” Askew said.

With the recent closing of the online sign up, Heberlein said that space is more limited in the dorms due to the “living learning” programs and residential college housing reserved for students of particular colleges and incoming freshmen. However, students are still encouraged to sign up.

Students can email or call the office at 517-884-LIVE to ask any questions or sign up. The ability to sign up for next year is available through finals week ending at 6 P.M. on Friday, May 2, 2014.

The LiveOn office is located in C101 Wilson Hall in South Neighborhood and is open from 8am and 6pm, Monday–Friday.

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Welcome home, Spartans: Freshmen make the adjustment to college life

The wait is over, Class of 2017 Spartans. That long summer of shopping for the perfect bedspread, snack foods and exercising a college student mentality has lead to the first year of college on our campus. East Lansing is now home.

This time, usually filled with the familiar anticipation of entering any other school year has taken a step up. This year is a transition not only to a new grade, but also to a new school much larger than most have ever stepped foot on, a new city for some and even a new country for others. This exciting yet equally nerve-wrecking experience can prove to be intimidating for almost anyone.

Having begun her journey to become a Spartan in Delhi, India, freshman Apoorva Dhingra said as an international student, she is excited to experience American events on campus despite her trouble with “settling-in”.

Dhingra, who has never experienced Halloween, said she is excited to be a part of this tradition for the first time.

“I have heard of Halloween and I know what it’s all about but this will be my first time seeing it in person,” she said.

But after a month here on campus, some nostalgia has kicked in. The uneasiness of the adjustment process has taken its toll and freshmen are realizing what about home they’re missing, but also what they love about college life.

“I miss the level of comfort that I had when I was at home,” said Dhingra.

This yearning for the familiarity of home battles with the excitement for the future in a way that can make these first few weeks the most difficult—and in the same way, incredible.

Discovering who you are without your parents and learning to cope with experiences you’ve never encountered on your own becomes a real experience and for the first time, you can feel yourself growing up.

For college freshmen, the adjustment to living in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people forces one to change and compromise. Living with another person in a room fit for one can cause conflict, but it also creates a bond with someone who is going through the exact circumstances and emotions you feel.

For Dhingra, the issue of living in the dorms and the lack of space–closet space in particular–has been a challenge for her and her extensive wardrobe.

“There’s no place to put all of my clothes! I am an only child so I come from having a huge house to myself to having half of a room,” Dhingra said.

The challenges of living in such close quarters don’t stop at privacy and lack of space. Not only do the dorms provide you with a single roommate, but also 40 or more neighbors on each floor alone.

This large blend of characters in a single small community doesn’t allow for much alone or quiet time.

“I am adjusting well. I think the easiest part [about living on campus] is the accessibility. Classes are close, food is easy to get to, people are always around, but it’s a double-edged sword,” said freshman Eric Lofquist. “It’s hard being in such close proximity to so many other people 24/7.”

Lofquist said he has made many close friendships since joining the Spartan family and enjoys the time he is able to spend with them. However, he said it is difficult to find time to stay on top of his classes while living so close to friends.

Lofquist said his time here so far is a “life experience” as he maneuvers through classes, making friendships and reaching out to join clubs and extra-curricular groups.

“Living here, waking up here and going to classes here–it’s really immersive,” he said, “It goes beyond the classroom and transcends what you’ll learn in any book”.

The freshman year of college is a blank book and the student is the pen. Write down the stories to remember and learn from the others.

Making mistakes is common in during freshman year, the experience and knowledge gained from these can be used to train oneself to become more flexible and to do better in the future of their time at Michigan State University.

While this may be the starting line for the road ahead filled with many new challenges and tribulations, some of the best memories and friendships can be made along the way.

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