Spartan summer

06-28-2013

The work doesn’t end at Michigan State with spring commencement. In fact that’s a fitting name, because as our graduates leave to begin new lives and many students return home for the summer or go on adventures to new places, our cycle begins anew with finalization of the budget and its approval by the Board of Trustees. Anyone who’s been through a budget process can understand why the adoption of Michigan State’s budget by the board on the longest day of the year carried a bit of irony.

But June 21 was the official start of summer, and summer is always a good time to pause and smell the roses. In addition to roses, a vast variety of flowers has been copiously blooming, thanks to the efforts of our Landscape Services employees. The beauty of MSU’s green, sprawling campus in the summer is a testament to their commitment and effort!

I do love to walk around campus in the summer. Our enrollment is a little more than half the 46,500 students enrolled in spring semester, so it appears less bustling and more relaxed. But add in thousands of students and parents here for freshman orientation, the high school students here for summer camps, the elementary kids here for their programs, the 4-Hers, the athletes, the music students, the robotics explorers, the middle school poets, the special events participants, and the many, many more who visit us for amazing experiences each summer and you have about as much activity as at any other time of the year. This campus is a learning, working community that pulses with life year-round.

One of the most amazing programs we offer each summer is Grandparents University. It combines learning opportunities and activities with a chance for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren, and it is hugely popular. Our instructors volunteer their time to distill their lesson plans down to an attention-grabbing essence that can be shared by multigenerational learners.

So, even in what many think would be a sleepy season, I’ve learned to budget extra time to wait in line at the MSU Dairy Store for my ice cream. It’s just part of the rhythm of summer at MSU.

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