Giving back at Michigan State, making a difference in the world

12-22-2006

As 2006 comes to an end and we look forward to the new year ahead, it is a time to pause and look back at the achievements of the past year.

One way in which Michigan State continues to set itself apart from other institutions of higher education is by consciously—and constantly—incorporating its core values into both daily operations and new initiatives. Here, our commitment to quality, connectivity, and inclusion grounds us and guides our strategic planning as surely as does our mission of teaching, research, and outreach. These commitments are embedded in the way we think, the way we act, and our vision for the future as we move from land-grant to world-grant.

Taken together, our core values are about making a positive difference in the world. Our land-grant roots connect us to the many and varied communities that work with us in mutually beneficial partnerships. Our world-grant future compels us to think locally when acting globally and vice versa so that the benefits of Michigan State’s education, research, and outreach constantly flow both back to our home state and out to the globe.

Over the years, we have always given back to the communities that have given us so very much. A few signature efforts come to mind at this time of year when so many of us, individually, enjoy the richness and warmth of giving and receiving and of reaching out to help those in need.

From our efforts related to the Partnership to Cut Hunger in Africa, to our on-campus MSU Student Food Bank, Michigan State has committed time, energy, and resources to combat hunger and poverty, both at home and abroad. From our Institute of International Agriculture to the Broad MBA program’s longstanding participation—and success—in the national “MBA Food Fight” competition, a charitable food collection campaign, we have given—and given back—to communities in need, reaching out with the knowledge and resources that we are fortunate to have—and to generate—on our campus.

Across the state of Michigan, both MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) give back to local communities in ways that improve the quality of life of countless residents. Selected examples of recent MSU Extension and MAES efforts designed to improve the quality of life for Michigan’s citizens, economic opportunities for businesses, management efforts for natural resources, and education to improve capacity in communities, are featured in a series of reports entitled “Contributing to Michigan’s Success in 2006.”

The list could go on and on. That’s what’s so impressive about Michigan State—that sustained ability, and follow-through—to respond to the ever-changing needs of society and provide solutions that work.

During this season of giving, I want to thank all of the people who are Team MSU for contributing—in the rich and diverse ways you do on a daily basis—toward making a positive difference in the world. The knowledge you generate and then advance to real people in real communities truly does transform lives. And for that, I thank you, and wish you great success and joy in your work in the new year.

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