Philanthropic Friends

When most college students think of the Greek community, they probably picture men and women clad in monogrammed rush T-shirts, carrying matching tote bags and hats. Similarly, upon hearing the words “Greek life,” students tend to imagine a large, unsanitary fraternity house filled with minors indulging in under-age drinking, provocative dancing, and loud blaring music during three-night benders. Contrary to the conceptions of many Spartans, accurate or inaccurate, there is another side to some fraternities and sororities many students do not know. In addition, fraternities and sororities exist outside of the boundaries of the MSU Greek community. This side is most prominently displayed through the annual philanthropic events of some campus fraternities and sororities, both in and out of the Greek system.
Philanthropy is commonly thought of as a word for the rich and famous, used when they donate thousands of dollars to causes and social benefits with relative ease. However, philanthropic events play a crucial role in the operations of many groups on campus. One such organization, Pi Kappa Phi, is a national Greek fraternity dedicated to raising money and awareness for the disabled community.
[ramp]Originally founded on MSU’s campus in 1922, Pi Kappa Phi’s Alpha Theta chapter has a history threaded with a compelling comeback story. After regaining their charter in April 2005, the men have set new goals to lay a solid foundation and make their chapter stronger by using their philanthropy organization, PUSH America, as the focus.
“When we got our charter, it was kind of a beginning: we are changing things around from the standard and making them our own this time,” economics senior and president Brian Kirsch said. “We’re still new, so we are still building our foundation together, and as that continues, we are adding more and more and building up.”
Unlike other Greek organizations, Pi Kappa Phi is a national philanthropic organization devoted to bringing their brothers together across the nation to serve the disabled and learn from each other. “Because we are the only fraternity to have its own nationally founded philanthropy, all our chapters across the nation participate in the same events to raise money for PUSH,” Kirsch said. “It brings us together more as a brotherhood, instead of just different chapters from different regions.”
PUSH America is a non-profit organization that promotes understanding, encouragement and service for those with disabilities. Its mission is to help the disabled while teaching their members to define a person by abilities rather than their disabilities. The group focuses on spreading this message through special events and trips.
“I think that when you’re in college as an undergrad, everything goes by so quickly, you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you’re going to do, and everything is stressful and sudden,” said Jeremy Edmiston, director of chapter services for PUSH America. “We encourage each of our 135 chapters across the country to participate locally in the community. We want chapters to develop leadership skills within the fraternity, the classroom and community. That is our goal with PUSH America.”
One of their many events is Give A Push (GAP), a weekend-long occurrence that happens each semester. PUSH America identifies a camp in need of a service, and members of the organization, including brothers of Pi Kappa Phi, work to solve the problem, according to Edmiston.
“MSU sent 12 guys to Toledo last year where they were able to build an accessible nature walk,” Edmiston said. “It’s really cool because if you’re in a wheelchair you really don’t have the option to go to the woods and walk around, and the guys built a nature walk that was accessible for them.”
In addition to GAP Weekend, the members of Pi Kappa Phi participate in Build America, a six-week program in the summer to construct needed facilities and additions for camps serving the disabled. “Our members stop at camps for people with disabilities to make something accessible: a lodge, a dorm room, anything to improve the quality of life for people at the camp,” Edmiston said.
While many MSU students are lured to spring break destinations by the ideas of sandy beaches and endless sunshine, Pi Kappa Phi members have the chance to participate in an alternative spring break program. PUSH Camp is devoted to service, leadership, cooperation and fun while improving summer camps across the nation, and the program unites men from many areas of Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy.
“We do fundraising like everyone else, but we also enjoy hands-on interaction and serving,” Kirsch said. “We go to camps that serve people with disabilities to help construct a playground or whatever their specific needs are, and we interact with the kids. We’ll go anywhere to help.”
When Kirsch says “anywhere,” he really means it. In addition to traveling to one area to do projects for PUSH America, members of Pi Kappa Phi have philanthropic opportunities while traveling across the country. The annual Journey of Hope, a 63-day national event, brings together active members and alumni to cycle 4,000 miles from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., with the goal of raising $500,000. Three MSU Pi Kappa Phi brothers are expected to ride this summer, but each member has to raise $5,000 to ride.
“We get everything out of volunteering, from quality bonding and getting to know each other more, to meeting other brothers from around the nation,” Kirsch said. “It is giving back, any little bit of time and effort that we can give means so much, that we can touch lives and be heroes for them. That we can really changes lives is pretty cool.”
The good deeds and volunteer hours of Pi Kappa Phi members have set a good foundation for other philanthropic Greek organizations, setting a different tone for Greek life on campus. The brothers are not the only ones working for philanthropy, however; the females also are represented through the sorority system. Women join men for philanthropic purposes as members of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity. Although Alpha Phi Omega is not part of the MSU Greek system, its key ideas run along the same lines as Pi Kappa Phi: leadership, friendship and service.
[basic]Alpha Phi Omega was founded at MSU in 1937 as the Beta Beta chapter. Members are more likely to collect beer cans to raise money than attend that fraternity party down the street. Alpha Phi Omega contributes many programs to MSU, including State Walk, a rape prevention program housed in the library. Members offer walking partners for anyone on campus from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
Many MSU students appreciate the idea of a service fraternity: an organization based on serving others and one that strays from the common conceptions of fraternities as students united around the idea of partying. Business sophomore John Arnold is not a member of Alpha Phi Omega, but his positive feelings toward volunteering are similar to those of students that join Alpha Phi Omega each semester.
“A service fraternity is a great idea because it would help students to get involved with our community, and better organize their community efforts,” business sophomore John Arnold said. “It also sounds very beneficial to those who are interested in making headway with community projects and helping others like I am.”
Many organizations, Greek and non-Greek, have philanthropic activities on their agendas for the year, but social events between members or with other MSU groups can take precedence. On the other hand, the sole aim of Alpha Phi Omega is to serve the community.
“People that join are aware of the world around them, they realize there are bad things going on, and we do everything to make a difference, [and] I think that is what sets us apart,” said Laura Daien, president of Alpha Phi Omega and an advertising and public relations senior. “We have such a diverse group of people. Everybody sees the less fortunate in the world and understands the hardships: we are about making a difference for those who aren’t as fortunate as us.”
Aside from State Walk, Alpha Phi Omega promotes many other philanthropic events each semester. From their charity 5K run/walk every spring to their Have a Heart charity concert this past December, the group works to assist the community and provide benefits to their members for offering their time as volunteer hours. The group also plans to hold its first Dance-A-Thon in February to raise money for the Pediatric Aids Foundation.
“We have four pillars of service: campus, community, nation and each other,” political theory and constitutional democracy senior Chrissy Rodemeyer said. “Our concentration is service, but we teach leadership and commit many activities to creating fellowship as well.”
Throughout the year, the group sponsors blanket and coat drives for shelters and hospitals, volunteers with blood drives and participates in MSU’s annual Relay for Life, held in the spring.
“We do so much and we try to participate in many different activities so we don’t have one specific organization to contribute to: we try to benefit all local organizations,” Daien said. “Once we find charities that we enjoy and find there is a large need, we strive to continue to help them.”
These students who spend countless hours improving the quality of life for others really understand how their efforts can help others in need. As students at MSU, East Lansing is as much our community as the residents who live here full-time, and it is our responsibility to look at the models for philanthropy, right here on campus. Although many students would not necessarily associate philanthropy with fraternities, these groups are proof there is more to campus life than epic parties and endless night life.

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Celebri-City

[sign]Many students don’t think Hollywood while filling out their applications for MSU, but the history of the campus is filled with numerous famous names in many arenas, including art and athletics. From as early as the 1930s, the area around Lansing has been producing many of the movers and shakers of this century. These superstars have left MSU and have gone on to create legacies of their own. From NBA basketball to the silver screen, some select MSU alumni have gone on to accomplish feats known on a national scale, but that can be traced back to this very campus.
“I think MSU has played a key role in the success of many people; when you look at the body of achievement by alumni, it is a very impressive institution,” said Bob Bao, editor of the MSU Alumni Magazine for the past 24 years and alumni of MSU with a masters in business administration. “I have covered a lot of achievement stories, and there is definitely a correlation between success and experience.”
A high-profile example of this success is in the profession of filmmaking. When watching the famous action thriller Spider-Man, few students know the director is a former MSU student who once walked the same snow-packed paths to class everyday. Director Sam Raimi was born in Royal Oak, Mich. in 1959, and he enrolled at MSU in the fall of 1977 as a humanities major. Together with older brother Ivan, contributing writer to the first two Spider-Man movies, and Ivan’s roommate Robert Tapert, the trio began their quest to make movies. Their elementary filming took place early in the fall, and they titled their first full-length film The Happy Valley Kid. With Sam Raimi directing, his brother producing and Tapert starring, much of the filming took place in Wonders Hall, Wells Hall and along the Red Cedar River bridge behind the Main Library.
Raimi’s success has sparked much interest in the MSU film program and his story is familiar to current film studies students. “I think he has opened up other areas of study that can still apply to filmmaking,” said Matt Bendure, a film studies, telecommunication and theatre sophomore. “It\’s no longer necessary to go to the big film schools like USC [University of Southern California] or NYU [New York University].”
[downtown]However, Raimi didn’t graduate from MSU; he dropped out halfway through the spring semester of his sophomore year in March 1979. His Happy Valley Kid production played on campus for 24 screenings and was viewed by more than 1,000 students. The film truly set him on the road to major filmmaking, and the following 1978 production Within the Woods, a homemade horror flick, was viewed by prospective investors. From this film, Raimi was able to earn enough to start production of the famous thriller The Evil Dead.
“I definitely respect the fact that [Raimi] lived in Michigan and made it huge in Hollywood,” said Jeff Allen, a telecommunications information studies and media and film studies senior. “It\’s always inspiring to know that someone from your area, interested in your field, has been wildly successful in it.”
After graduating from MSU in 1978, Ivan Raimi continued to co-write and produce for Sam Raimi with the sequels Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. Since the release of The Evil Dead, Sam has directed such blockbuster hits as The Quick and the Dead, with Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio, and For Love of the Game, with Kevin Costner. He was also executive producer of the popular television series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. [web]
“I do know that many of the filmmakers around campus and the Lansing area do know that he went to MSU and obviously that he is successful, so I think that his achievements are proof that Michigan can produce quality filmmakers,” Allen said.
Seeing someone from the area rise to success impacts both the students and the larger Lansing community. “I think these celebrities affected East Lansing similarly to how they affected me; they brought encouragement…even years after they are long gone, to those who did not personally know them,” communications sophomore Kyle Lappin said.
Although many current Spartans might not know about Sam Raimi’s claims to fame, one would be hard-pressed to find a current student who hasn’t heard the story of Magic Johnson. Gregg Skopczynski, an MSU communications student from 1978-1980, played intramural softball with the famed athlete. Skopczynski witnessed the Magic mania as he attended many of Johnson’s games during his freshman year.
“You just knew that every time he came onto the court there was a possibility of some kind of unbelievable plays and passes,” Skopczynski said. “They were just so exciting and stimulating to watch. I became a huge college basketball fan that year.”
[jenison]Hailing from Lansing, Earvin Johnson, Jr., received his nickname “Magic” from local sports reporter Fred Stabley, Jr. while leading his high school basketball team, the Everett Vikings, to a state high school championship in 1977. After high school graduation, he chose to stay close to home and play for the Spartans. Johnson’s first season with the Spartans was marked with incredible success as he led the Spartans to a 1978 Big Ten Conference title. Johnson’s head coach Jud Heathcote is quoted in the 1978 edition of The Red Cedar Log: “He has brought excitement and interest to Jenison Fieldhouse and the campus through his talent.”
Johnson’s sophomore season was one of MSU’s biggest basketball seasons to date, as the Spartans won the 1979 NCAA National Championship game against acclaimed basketball star Larry Bird and Indiana State University.
“That season I think everywhere he was, people knew it,” Skopczynski said. “He was recognizable and likeable. He never thought he was better than anyone else. He was a regular guy and didn’t think that he was anything special.”
After ending his college career in 1979, Johnson was drafted in the first round to the Los Angeles Lakers. Toward the end of his professional career, in 1991, Johnson received more national media attention when he announced that he was HIV-positive.
“It has to be hard to handle such detrimental news, but Magic accepted it and still played the game he knew best,” biosystems engineering and chemical engineering sophomore Andrew Corrion said. “Coming from a tightly knit community…helped Magic through those times; he always knew he could come home, and the East Lansing community would still be just as proud.”
[magic]Soon after his final retirement from professional basketball, Johnson founded the Magic Johnson Foundation in order to raise AIDS awareness and prevention for inner-city communities and to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research.
“Celebrity itself doesn’t mean much; Magic is so much more than a celebrity,” Bao said. “He has developed a business empire serving undeserved markets. He is a real achiever.” [magician]
Gov. Jennifer Granholm established Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. Day in Michigan, to be celebrated on May 13 in honor of his achievements in Michigan and Los Angeles.
“I think East Lansing affected these celebrities much like any hometown of a college community would: it instilled a sense of pride and personality for their alma mater and helped shape who they became as human beings,” Lappin said.
The fact that celebrities such as Sam Raimi and Magic Johnson called MSU their home is an inspiring message for all years and majors alike. These are stimulating stories redefine the average college student’s “American dream” and give everyone encouragement to achieve such greatness. We all start out in the same boat as bewildered, aimless freshman, but these success stories give us something to shoot for: a professional sports career or success as a director…or whatever path you might choose.

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Head to Head

[gettinginfo]
For many MSU students, political activism is not high on their lists of priorities. But for some, getting involved in election activities is a rush and a regular part of campus life. These students must motivate an often apathetic student body to register to vote and exercise their rights. Two major groups devoted to political activism on campus are the MSU Democrats and MSU College Republicans, and their activism efforts have been in high gear in preparation for the Nov. 7 gubernatorial election.
The race for governor has been highly advertised in the media, and that attention has been transferred to MSU – it is hard not to notice this election race. As students who will be graduating in the next four years, this election has a big impact on our futures. The foremost issue facing MSU graduates is job placement, and MSU alumnus Michael Plato knows all too well what it’s like to be displaced after graduation.
“I\’m one of the statistics: I went to a Michigan university and had to leave the state to find a job,\” the political science and marketing graduate said. \”Michigan can\’t afford to lose its college graduates and expect to be attractive to businesses. Everyone in college now will graduate under Michigan\’s next governor. The job search may seem like a long way off, especially for freshmen, but the election this November will decide what economy they graduate into.”
The incumbent
As the president of MSU Democrats, Karissa Chabot is already aware of this bleak scenario. She has been preparing for Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s re-election campaign since last spring, and voter registration is at the top of her agenda.
“The Dems have been knocking doors all over campus to register new voters and will continue to do so up until the voter registration deadline on Oct. 10,” Chabot, a political theory and constitutional democracy senior, said. “We\’ve registered over 500 new voters already and have set a goal of registering 2,000.”
Working tirelessly to spread the word about Granholm’s campaign, the MSU Dems have been passing out campaign literature, making phone calls and knocking on thousands of doors. In cooperation with the Coordinated Campaign, they have been reaching voters off-campus by making calls seven days a week.
Granholm, a Harvard grad, was elected in November 2002 as the first woman to serve in Michigan’s office. According to the campaign Web site, Granholm has cut $4 billion from the budget deficit during her term as governor, and she lifted the unemployment rank from 50th to 49th in the nation. One of her recent proposals is to allot $4,000 to each Michigan student who completes two years of higher education, the first of its kind in the nation.
\”I support Granholm because she is always fighting for everyday citizens and is not about making money for millionaires and special interests groups,\” said Emily Mixter, the MSU Democrats secretary and a political science junior. \”She is persistant about taking care of the people who don\’t have high powered lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists to protect their interests.\”
[emily]Granholm’s top priorities are increasing Michigan’s economy and maintaining the state’s high quality of life. She has also attempted to bring new business and technology to unemployed Michigan workers through her travels. In July 2005, Granholm spent five days with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon in Japan at a conference to bring new companies and jobs to Michigan. As a result, Granholm created 1,032 new jobs and brought $245 million in investments.
Mixter has been busy helping with the “dorm storm” efforts to identify, educate and register potential voters. “The most important day is Election Day, when we go around to all the dorms as many times as we can to get students to the polls,” Mixter said.
With Nov. 7 fast approaching, the MSU Democrats have scheduled a variety of events to promote Granholm. This month, the group will host three debate-watching parties, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2, 10 and 16. In addition, group members will distribute information regarding each candidate and will hopefully invite Granholm herself to a re-election rally on campus. Although her availability for the rally is unsure at this time, their Web site, www.msudemocrats.org, will include more information.
The challenger
Because the MSU Democrats have the aspect of incumbency on their side, getting the attention of voters may be a slightly less daunting task than the one faced by the opposing student group. Despite this, the MSU College Republicans are approaching the election, and the duty of getting support, with full force.
“Being involved in the College Republicans has been the best part of my college career at MSU,” said Anna Marie Cooper, a hospitality business senior and MSU College Republicans’ first vice chair. “And the best part of College Republicans is election season.”
The Republican challenger, Dick DeVos, is the son of well-known Republican Richard DeVos and the former President of Alticor, Inc. With no formal post-secondary education, DeVos brings work and leadership experience from Alticor Inc. According to the campaign Web site, DeVos’s campaign is concentrated on a pledge to turn Michigan around. One of his campaign objectives, the TurnAround Plan, will create new jobs and diversify Michigan’s work force. DeVos also has a high regard for selling Michigan-made products, and with his background in international business, he is seeking to sell these products globally.
The 2006 gubernatorial election is especially significant because of the negative perceptions held by many about the current state of Michigan’s economy. A major focus for each candidate has been the promise to keep jobs in Michigan and, in turn, motivate recent college graduates to remain in the state. [freshman] MSU College Republicans treasurer Dennis Bentley said the results of the election could ultimately affect the moving decisions of college grads. “The lagging economy that we find ourselves in couldn\’t come at a worse time for people my age – a time when we will all soon be graduating and looking to start a career,” Bentley, a political science junior, said. “This is not just your average election to decide who will sit in the Governor’s seat for the next four years. This year’s gubernatorial election could very well possibly make the difference in whether or not we, as college students, start our careers here at home, or if we will be forced to leave for opportunities outside the state.”
To bring the influence of the Republican challenger closer to MSU students, the College Republicans hosted DeVos on campus for the MSU v. Notre Dame football game on Sept 23. DeVos and his wife, Betsy, went tent-to-tent clad in Spartan gear, talking to potential voters about Michigan’s economy and what new leadership could bring to Michigan.
“We had one of the best receptions from any crowd that I have ever seen,\” Bentley said. \”I\’m very excited about the energy and enthusiasm I see coming out of both the volunteers for DeVos, as well as the people who will be voting for him. I think Michigan is ready for change.”
Get educated
Both Democratic and Republican activists have stumbled into a huge sector of untapped voting power for this gubernatorial race: the fresh-faced 18-year-old students. While many of them probably did not rush out and register to vote right away, the opportunities to do so now have been substantial. On this politically-charged campus, the freshmen can vote in their first major election, and each side is clambering for their support. However, campus groups want motivated and educated voters, not people running to the polls filled with media influence and lack of information about the candidates and their values.
[devossigns] “One of my biggest pet peeves is the uneducated voter,” history senior and MSU Republicans chairman Jeff Wiggins said. “Read up on Granholm and DeVos and decided for yourself who you would pick. Use your own logic, go to political meetings and events on campus. Attend debates, visit the candidates\’ Web sites and decide for yourself who is better for Michigan.”
Taking the time to vote on Nov. 7 puts direct power into the student body. As soon-to-be graduates, this is the opportunity influence if entry-level job opportunties require out-of-state flights or cruises down the highway.
“MSU students will be in the job market within the next two to four years,” Wiggins said. “Whether they can stay in Michigan will depend on what kind of economy we have. If we don\’t make a change, look forward to packing your bags, kids.”
First timers
General business administration and pre-law freshman Andrew Stanecki is greatly anticipating Nov. 7, although the first time at the polls can be intimidating. “I definitely plan on voting because even though I\’m new at this, I still want to be involved and have knowledge about who\’s in charge,” Stanecki said. “It\’s important to vote because every vote does matter, and if you don\’t start voting right away, I feel like people will just continue to abstain from doing so forever. If not now, then when?”
First-time voter and no preference freshman Sheila Cope has already been reading up on the candidates and understands the impact of her vote. “Students should care because even if they plan on leaving Michigan, most of their families will still live here.”
[switz1]David Switzer, who is affiliated with the Independent Party, also knows the importance of this election race. “A lot of my friends say that this election is not important and they\’ll just wait and vote for president, but this is exactly the attitude we need to avoid,” said Switzer, a political theory and constitutional democracy and history freshman. “Voting is the most important say that American citizens have in their democracy, so they need to take advantage of this right in order to keep the democracy alive. This election is especially important because all the positions are popularly elected, so the people actually have a direct say in who takes over their government. College students are the future of this country, and if they don\’t start to vote now, they never will.”
As Mixter said, \”You don\’t need a PhD in political science to vote; go with your gut instinct about who is going to do the best job and represent you the best.\”
Students who are not registered to vote in East Lansing or who cannot make it to the polls can obtain an absentee voter ballot. To acquire an absentee ballot, send a signed letter containing the online application form to your local clerk’s office. A list of city or township clerk addresses is available at www.michigan.gov/vote.
MSU’s college Democrats and Republicans take great interest in our federal, state and local leadership. And so should you – as the youth of America, this is our opportunity to step up and influence our own future. What do you want for Michigan? Vote on Nov. 7, and avoid gambling with the future.

Don’t forget to register to vote in the Nov.7 election: the last day to do so is Oct. 10. To register online, please visit www.youvote.msu.edu.
For more information on either gubernatorial candidate, please visit their respective Web sites: www.granholmforgov.com and www.devosforgovernor.com.

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Behind the Blitz

[ball]There is only one thing that will get a college student up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning – the sights, sounds, and smells of football. It’s the range of SUVs and trailers piling into Spartan territory, the recognizable tune of ESPN’s College Game Day on portable televisions, and the mouth-watering aroma of hot dogs on helmet-shaped grills across campus. The arrival of football season comes every fall in full force, and this year is no different.
Coupled with every great college campus is great college tradition. Big Ten football, from the Big House to our house, has support from students, staff and alumni; But one group proves its dedication above the rest. MSU has its own way of firing up the crowds, pumping up the players and selling every seat in the house: the chanting, singing and yells of excitement that is Corner Blitz.
Corner Blitz, arguably the loudest student organization on campus – that is, until its counterpart, the Izzone, begins the winter season – is now in its fourth season of football spirit. In its largest season ever, with membership nearly twice as large as 2005, the 3,100 students unite each Saturday to cheer on the Spartans. The passionate sea of white tees seems to draw energy from the sun gods as their relentless demand for touchdowns and key plays brings the heat of competition to a high. Their spirit echoes throughout the 75,000-seat stadium and brings pre-game entertainment to eager fans as they listen to the chants of “GO GREEN, GO WHITE!”
[blitz] The effort to fuse commitment and pride this great happens far from the deafening stadium. Kinesiology senior Dave Krause, secondary education and earth science junior Emily Davidson, and math and physics junior Andrew DeGroot have turned their hobby as loyal fans of Spartan football into a full-time, non-paying job, as Corner Blitz directors through the Student Alumni Foundation. To ensure each season starts smoothly, they begin planning in April for the upcoming year. Advertisements, handouts and thousands of fliers are designed, copied, and printed every spring to get the word out and recruit new members, while maintaining the loyalty of current super-fans. Many MSU students spent this past summer traveling, working, or just lounging by the pool, but Krause, Davidson and DeGroot totaled about 80 hours a week combined, collecting ticket orders, authorizing print designs for T-shirts, and working the Academic Orientation Program to inform incoming freshmen and planning this year’s road trip to Northwestern University.
Although their roles as Corner Blitz directors sound daunting, they are not alone. The 60-member Corner Blitz student committee helps manage the section of rowdy students and keeps stress to a minimum and effectiveness to a maximum: thousands of packets containing the official T-shirt, Student Alumni Foundation membership card and flier for 2006 were stuffed in less than two hours.
“I joined the Corner Blitz committee because I love Michigan State athletics and I was looking for a group where I could meet new people with the same interests as me,” journalism freshman Jennifer Orlando said. “As a freshman, this seemed like a very fun organization to get involved in because they were open to new ideas and seemed passionate about what they do.”
Running the show takes more than just stuffing packets; eight committee members are chosen each game to arrive two hours early to complete much of the grunt work, including setting up and passing out newsletters, pom-poms, towels and other goodies.
“I love being a member of the Corner Blitz committee because we actively display everything that we work for,” psychology junior Christopher Scovone said. “I thought that watching the football games as a student was the most fun I had in my first year at Michigan State, but actually helping to create that environment has been better.”
And it’s paid off, because the Corner Blitz brings satisfaction to its students during every home game. “I get a rush of pride screaming as the team runs onto the field,” said Kevin Neill, accounting sophomore and Corner Blitz member. “I feel like I’m a part of something that actually helps the team win.”
Even though students like Neill don’t literally help the team win, the role of the Corner Blitz is extremely important to the dynamics of the team. If they have an entire student section cheering them on, it makes it a lot easier to perform better.
In 2001, the idea for Corner Blitz – to create a unique student section for the most devoted, steadfast group of fans – was initially explored. The section was dubbed Bobby’s World, in honor of previous head coach Bobby Williams. Although the shirts used to be green instead of the eye-catching white, the passion for the game is what links the past and present sections, Davidson said.
It is hard to imagine a football game without the crazy costume-wearing fans, the students who sacrifice their bodies to the will of green and white paint, and the thousands of tiny pom-poms twirling in anticipation of kick-off. After months of work and hours spent hiding away in the SAF office in the Union, the directors get some sweet perks. “Free football tickets were a real bonus for this year because they are never guaranteed with the job,” DeGroot said.
Davidson’s real joy comes from walking into the stadium ten minutes after kick-off, after she has passed out all the freebies for the game.
She stands at the section entrance, looking up into the crowds of Spartan allegiance, and feels good about the sea of white. She said, \”It is the pride of looking back and knowing you organized 3,100 people and they look fantastic.\”

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Behind the Blitz

[ball]There is only one thing that will get a college student up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning – the sights, sounds, and smells of football. It’s the range of SUVs and trailers piling into Spartan territory, the recognizable tune of ESPN’s College Game Day on portable televisions, and the mouth-watering aroma of hot dogs on helmet-shaped grills across campus. The arrival of football season comes every fall in full force, and this year is no different.
Coupled with every great college campus is great college tradition. Big Ten football, from the Big House to our house, has support from students, staff and alumni; But one group proves its dedication above the rest. MSU has its own way of firing up the crowds, pumping up the players and selling every seat in the house: the chanting, singing and yells of excitement that is Corner Blitz.
Corner Blitz, arguably the loudest student organization on campus – that is, until its counterpart, the Izzone, begins the winter season – is now in its fourth season of football spirit. In its largest season ever, with membership nearly twice as large as 2005, the 3,100 students unite each Saturday to cheer on the Spartans. The passionate sea of white tees seems to draw energy from the sun gods as their relentless demand for touchdowns and key plays brings the heat of competition to a high. Their spirit echoes throughout the 75,000-seat stadium and brings pre-game entertainment to eager fans as they listen to the chants of “GO GREEN, GO WHITE!”
The effort to fuse commitment and pride this great happens far from the deafening stadium. Kinesiology senior Dave Krause, secondary education and earth science junior Emily Davidson, and math and physics junior Andrew DeGroot have turned their hobby as loyal fans of Spartan football into a full-time, non-paying job, as Corner Blitz directors through the Student Alumni Foundation. To ensure each season starts smoothly, they begin planning in April for the upcoming year. Advertisements, handouts and thousands of fliers are designed, copied, and printed every spring to get the word out and recruit new members, while maintaining the loyalty of current super-fans. Many MSU students spent this past summer traveling, working, or just lounging by the pool, but Krause, Davidson and DeGroot totaled about 80 hours a week combined, collecting ticket orders, authorizing print designs for T-shirts, and working the Academic Orientation Program to inform incoming freshmen and planning this year’s road trip to Northwestern University.
Although their roles as Corner Blitz directors sound daunting, they are not alone. The 60-member Corner Blitz student committee helps manage the section of rowdy students and keeps stress to a minimum and effectiveness to a maximum: thousands of packets containing the official T-shirt, Student Alumni Foundation membership card and flier for 2006 were stuffed in less than two hours.
“I joined the Corner Blitz committee because I love Michigan State athletics and I was looking for a group where I could meet new people with the same interests as me,” journalism freshman Jennifer Orlando said. “As a freshman, this seemed like a very fun organization to get involved in because they were open to new ideas and seemed passionate about what they do.”
Running the show takes more than just stuffing packets; eight committee members are chosen each game to arrive two hours early to complete much of the grunt work, including setting up and passing out newsletters, pom-poms, towels and other goodies.
“I love being a member of the Corner Blitz committee because we actively display everything that we work for,” psychology junior Christopher Scovone said. “I thought that watching the football games as a student was the most fun I had in my first year at Michigan State, but actually helping to create that environment has been better.”
And it’s paid off, because the Corner Blitz brings satisfaction to its students during every home game. “I get a rush of pride screaming as the team runs onto the field,” said Kevin Neill, accounting sophomore and Corner Blitz member. “I feel like I’m a part of something that actually helps the team win.”
Even though students like Neill don’t literally help the team win, the role of the Corner Blitz is extremely important to the dynamics of the team. If they have an entire student section cheering them on, it makes it a lot easier to perform better.
In 2001, the idea for Corner Blitz – to create a unique student section for the most devoted, steadfast group of fans – was initially explored. The section was dubbed Bobby’s World, in honor of previous head coach Bobby Williams. Although the shirts used to be green instead of the eye-catching white, the passion for the game is what links the past and present sections, Davidson said.
It is hard to imagine a football game without the crazy costume-wearing fans, the students who sacrifice their bodies to the will of green and white paint, and the thousands of tiny pom-poms twirling in anticipation of kick-off. After months of work and hours spent hiding away in the SAF office in the Union, the directors get some sweet perks. “Free football tickets were a real bonus for this year because they are never guaranteed with the job,” DeGroot said.
Davidson’s real joy comes from walking into the stadium ten minutes after kick-off, after she has passed out all the freebies for the game.
She stands at the section entrance, looking up into the crowds of Spartan allegiance, and feels good about the sea of white. She said, \”It is the pride of looking back and knowing you organized 3,100 people and they look fantastic.\”

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