Spartans in service


Go to just about any community in Michigan and you’ll find a Spartan serving on a public or nonprofit board, whether it’s a school district, planning commission, festival committee, charitable foundation, or watershed council. These citizen-scholars contribute much to the civic and economic lives of their communities and state, and in so doing, they’re fulfilling the vision of our founders and Michigan State’s tradition of service.

Our employees are naturally active in this regard, and in many cases, they’re lending expert counsel. Dr. Eric Scorsone, an MSU Extension economist and municipal finance expert advising the fiscally troubled city of Lansing, is one high-profile example at this moment, but there are many more. Our Office of Engagement and Outreach surveys faculty and academic staff annually on the extent of their nonclassroom engagement and very conservatively estimates the value of such outreach, based on salary and hours contributed, at upwards of $137 million in the last seven years.

Service is a value Michigan State nurtures from the start, beginning with our undergraduate students at Fall Welcome. Registrations for student service-learning opportunities at the MSU Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, the nation’s oldest center of its kind, have more than tripled in the past 10 years. Some 18,900 student registrations for volunteer service were recorded there in 2011–12. Students are volunteering at local hospitals, youth organizations, and many more local nonprofits. More than a thousand students were placed directly in Lansing schools alone last fall semester to work as tutors, classroom assistants, reading and recreation group supervisors, and more.

Spartans can be found in service across the country and around the world. Our weeklong Alternative Spartan Break options encourage students and faculty to contribute to communities in need domestically and beyond with more than two dozen service trips each year. This year’s destinations have been as diverse as the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, New Orleans, New Hampshire, and the Dominican Republic.

Now we’re enlisting Spartans everywhere in a single day of service that will demonstrate the reach of our Spartan network and our collective impact. The SPARTANS WILL. POWER Global Day of Service is April 13 for students, faculty, staff, alumni groups, and Spartan friends and families. Read more here and join the cause.

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