ALEX’S GREAT STATE RACE Turning rivals into allies BY ALLISON BERTRAM
But on Oct. 6, 2017, a new tradition of camaraderie continues where you might not expect it. MSU and U-M will come together to raise awareness for student disability services. Originating in 2014, Alex’s Great State Race (AGSR) is an annual event that happens the day before the big MSU vs. U-M football game. Starting at dawn, Army ROTC cadets run the game ball from the visiting team’s school to the home team’s school. With the Spartans playing on Wolverine turf this year, cadets will run from the beloved Sparty statue to U-M’s Diag — a total of 64 miles. Michael Hudson, director of the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), feels inspired by the event every year.
“The race unifies many during a week of rivalry,” he said. “We are honored to partner with many to center on the gifts each university brings to our state.” AGSR is named after Alex Powell, an MSU student who struggled and lost his battle with cancer. A Lansing native, Powell had a lifelong dream of being a Spartan, and a cancer diagnosis during his senior year of Alex Powell, high school made his dream seem out an MSU of reach. student who lost his battle with cancer.
After Powell was accepted to MSU, the RCPD stepped in. Before he even started his freshman year, the RCPD assisted in planning around classes and cancer treatment. Shani Feyen, former ability access specialist at the RCPD, kept in touch with Powell’s parents throughout his freshman year with updates on his struggles and triumphs as a college student. After Powell passed away in 2011, his parents and friends planned to honor his life through a community event. Instead of focusing on only Powell’s school and his accommodations, his parents wanted to take it a step further.
One word comes to mind when thinking about Michigan State University (MSU) and University of Michigan (UM): rivalry. Football teams and fans from both institutions have clashed ever since the first head-to-head football game in 1898; each time the Spartans and Wolverines meet, tension and opposition is felt by all.
Army ROTC Cadets cross the finish line in East Lansing.