Summer Mail Home - Tuesday 07/27/21

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Vol. 112 | No. 1

TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2021 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Karly Graham MANAGING EDITOR Kaishi Chhabra COPY CHIEF SaMya Overall MULTIMEDIA MANAGER Lauren Snyder AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Griffin Wiles ART DIRECTOR Maddie Monroe Maya Salamey, a rising sophomore at MSU, working on homework for her summer classes in her dorm Holden Hall on MSU’s campus on June 24, 2021. Maya makes a to-do list to help keep her organized with her online classes. Photo by Lauren Snyder


The State News @thesnews




NEWSROOM/CORRECTIONS (517) 295-5149 GENERAL MANAGER Christopher Richert ADVERTISING M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University every other Tuesday during the academic year. News is updated seven days a week at State News Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation. Its current 990 tax form is available for review upon request at 435 E. Grand River Ave. during business hours. One copy of this newspaper is available free of charge to any member of the MSU community. Additional copies $0.75 at the business office only. Copyright © 2021 State News Inc., East Lansing, Michigan

The State News


Times are changing, but we’ll always figure it out

By Karly Graham

Seventeen months. It’s been a full 17 months since we could sit and bask in the comfort of the monotonous aspects of dayto-day life. Sure, a lot of the time we would want to trade in late-night study dates in the library for something a bit more interesting, but I think it’s safe to say a majority of us didn’t want to put our lives on hold for one of the deadliest pandemics in history. In simplest terms: it kinda sucked. This will be my fourth year at The State News. Just in my time at The State News, I’ve seen two university presidents resign, a football coach retire, and a student government election that lasted 18 hours. While all of those days were crazy, nothing compared to

“The State News didn’t stop reporting when COVID-19 hit Michigan. We figured it out. And no matter what happens next, we’ll continue to figure it out.”

Karly Graham Editor-in-Chief the last 17 months. This pandemic didn’t only change our way of living; it changed everything. I am not the same person I was last March. Back then, I had a side-part and optimism that everything would be over by June. Seventeen full months later, I have blonde hair and bangs, a vaccination, and a slightly more legitimate, realistic optimism that there will soon enough be a new normal to return to. New normal. You haven’t heard that one in a while, have you?

And it is new. I’m fully vaccinated, but I still wear my mask when I run to the Starbucks by the office. I’m fully vaccinated, but I still get a little anxious when someone I don’t know stands a bit too close to me. I’ve always been a pretty tightly wound person. But the anxiety instilled in me by the pandemic is on a new playing field. The worst part is, I know I’m not alone in this. As I’m writing this, I worry about inevitable campus outbreaks. Surely, there won’t be anything as bad as what happened last August, but if the university isn’t mandating vaccines, what’s to say we won’t? I may not be able to ease your anxieties, and I may not be able to tell you if this is what’s best, because even after 17 months, there are unknowns about COVID-19. But I can tell you this: No matter what happens next, The State News has you covered. From the second the message rolled in on student’s phones saying Michigan State would be transitioning to online learning, we completely changed our print issue that was printed the next day and created a timeline of the coronaviruses impact in Michigan.

When the university decided that vaccines would not be mandatory but only announced it to the Faculty Senate, we not only reported that decision, but we figured out what our students and faculty thought of the decision. The State News didn’t stop reporting when COVID-19 hit Michigan. We figured it out. And no matter what happens next, we’ll continue to figure it out. When it stopped being safe


to come into the office, we worked remotely. Now, we’re mixing in-office and remote work. We’re figuring it out. While I’m optimistic that we’ll be planning our fall semester with students setting up shop at their desks, no matter what happens, we’ll continue to do great work for the MSU and East Lansing communities. In our 112 years of being around, we always found a way to make things work.

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We’ve covered everything from wars to last-minute wins in sports against the University of Michigan. Just in our last 50 years of independence we’ve covered those things. Why would we let a pandemic slow us down? Things are constantly changing, but we’re changing too. Through all the stress and craziness, remember that you can always rely on The State News. No matter what, we’ll figure it out.




Editorial: Michigan State University should require COVID-19 vaccines Editor's note: On Friday, July 30 President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced MSU students, staff and faculty will be required to receive vaccinations. The decision was made because of breakthrough cases and transmission rates regarding the Delta variant of COVID-19. By The State News Editorial Board While we thought some additional foresight could’ve been used, we knew the university made the decision with students’ safety in mind. And we think they should do that again and require mandatory vaccines for all students, staff and faculty that are able to get vaccinated. Six schools in the Big Ten conference are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine — Indiana University, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. Additionally, five other schools in Michigan — Albion Col lege, the College for Creative Studies, Kalamazoo College, Lawrence Technological University and Oakland Univer sity — have already mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for students living on-campus in the fall. The University Council voted in favor of a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement, as well. Currently, MSU does not require any vaccines, but strongly encourages students to receive vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While MSU is incentivizing students to get vaccinated, the fact that vaccinated students “will be eligible for prizes” is not enough for students to get vaccinated. MSU is offering $20 in Spartan Cash for filling out a survey regarding their vaccination status, mirroring incentive programs at the state level, as well. Michigan is one of the many states to implement a “vaccine lottery” to ramp up

Art by Daena Faustino

vaccination rates as COVID-19 rates begin to rise once more. Cases are on the rise again as the country enters its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant. It is a gamble to rely on the world and empathy of college students that could unnecessarily risk a lot of lives and force us to return to online learning. While incentive programs are helpful, some people will need more of a push to pull the trigger and get vaccinated.

Students should be able to feel safe and confident in their school, especially if they are returning to in-person school ing. While the university requires that unvaccinated students wear masks inside, how can students trust that unvaccinated folks will be honest about their status? Even if they’re get ting tested weekly, how can the university ensure the safety of classmates and professors if a positive test result comesback? If people are able to receive the vaccine without having any health risks, they should be required to do so. A major ity of schools offer exemptions, whether that be health-re lated or religious reasons, and we believe MSU should offer those same exemptions. A federal court ruled in favor of Indiana University’s decision to mandate vaccines. With students filling dorms, an outbreak is bound to happen. Even vaccinated students are at risk of testing positive for COVID-19, and with people expected to be back in the dorms, the safest possible option is a vaccine requirement. The MSU Pavilion was once set up to offer vaccinations, so what’s stopping them from opening back up again? What if a vaccinated student is paired with an unvacci nated roommate? How can they both feel confident in one another’s safety measures? There’s still time to support student safety. We’d much rather require students to be vaccinated than see another outbreak that results in another year of virtual learning. Now is the time to be proactive, MSU. Do the right thing.

The State News Editorial Board is composed of Editor-inChief Karly Graham, Managing Editor Kaishi Chhabra, Copy Chief SaMya Overall, Audience Engagement Editor Griffin Wiles, Multimedia Editor Lauren Snyder, Diversity and Inclusion Rep. Ashley Zhou and Staff Rep. Jared Ramsey.









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Must sees: All the EL hot spots you need to try when you get to MSU By SaMya Overall

your university credit and experience the planetarium! Either way, if you are even mildly interested in space and galaxies, this is a must-see place.

After a year and a half of virtual learning, many of Michigan State University’s freshman and sophomore classes will be stepping onto the green and white campus for the first time. The 5300-acre campus with a 51-mile river running through its north side will be home to at least 9,600 freshmen moving in late August, according to an estimate Dan Olsen gave The State News in June. Before classes begin and the majority of your days are spent behind a computer screen or in a lecture hall, here are a few things you should do the moment you step on campus.



MSU and East Lansing are home to multiple recreational activities for students and their friend groups. A popular place is Pinball Pete’s, located at 220 Albert St. Pinball Pete’s is home to East Lansing’s very own arcade, complete with air hockey, skee ball, and, of course, pinball machines. The arcade is open Tuesdays-Thursdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from noon to 1 a.m., and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m., making it an excellent hangout spot for college students. For more of a theatrical approach to a good time, students can visit Wharton Center for Performing Arts on 750 Shaw Lane. Many live shows and virtual events come from the Wharton Center — for example, Reneé Elise Goldsberry will be there on Oct. 27, so Hamilton fans won’t want to miss this place. For some after-hours fun, students can book a trip to Abrams Planetarium. Located at 755 Science Road, the planetarium hosts public shows most Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets have to be bought in advance due to COVID-19 restrictions. For a “free” show, consider taking the lab for ISP 205 to fulfill



Local restaurants are all around Michigan State’s campus. A personal favorite of mine is Sir Pizza on W. Lake Lansing. A little bit of a drive if you aren’t living in Chandler Crossings or surrounding apartments, but this place has the best pizza in my opinion. Not to mention, their prices are reasonable and they offer extra-large pizzas for delivery for those vaccinated dorm parties. If you are a “small breakfast before class” type of person, you have to visit Bruegger’s Bagels, located at 505 Grand River Ave. Bruegger’s offers breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches that are extremely delicious, plus their soups are the best during the cold East Lansing winters. Seriously, if you don’t stop at Breuggers as soon as possible when you get to campus, you’ll be missing out. Finally, please do yourself a favor and visit HopCat. In my opinion, HopCat has top-tier bar-style food: chips with spicy queso, jumbo chicken wings, and their Cosmik fries — the unabridged winner of The State News’ 2021 Fry Fest competition. HopCat, along with other local bar-esque restaurants, was the epicenter of some outbreaks during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, but nevertheless, their food is a staple of Michigan State University.


You’ve made it to a Big Ten university with a beautiful campus, so naturally, there are many things to do outside of this list. Whether it’s taking a stroll down the banks of the Red Cedar, jogging through the Sanford Natural Area ) or just sitting on the benches near the Beaumont Tower, MSU offers many

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Akers Hall on MSU’s campus on July 15. Photo by Thomas Ruth

opportunities to just sit and be one with nature. If you want to show your Sparty Pride, you can visit the Spartan Spirit Shop in the MSU Union, tailgate at one of the many fraternity houses around campus (within COVID-19 guidelines) and clap along to the fight song at the first home football game against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 11. Just make sure you know the words! Finally, maybe you want to visit the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, which has a fitness center and a pool available by reservation. Or maybe you are more book-ish and just want to relax at one of the multiple libraries on and around campus, including the MSU Main Library on W. Circle Drive and the East Lansing Public Library on Abbott Road for all your book borrowing needs. Whatever activities you plan to do at MSU, there are multiple places to help students feel at home at their new university for the first time.

The Division of Student Affairs and Services (SAS) team is here to support you and your journey at Michigan State University (MSU). Connecting and engaging with the Spartan community is key to a positive experience and student success.

Find communities, connections and resources through our 14 units and programs. Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and Services • Career Services Network (CSN) • Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) • Community Liaison • Fraternity & Sorority Life • Graduate Student Life & Wellness • IMPACT 89FM (MSU student radio station) • Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions (OCAT) • Recreational Sports and Fitness Services (RSFS) • Student Life • Student Parent Resource Center (SPRC) • Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) • The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (GSCC) • Women’s Student Services (WSS)

GO TO STUDENTAFFAIRS.MSU.EDU to find more information and resources from all 14 of our units and programs!

PLUS! • Get all the information you need for Fall Welcome events at • Find and connect with 1,000-plus Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) – • Find, connect and participate in student government at MSU – • Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) – undergraduate student government – • Council of Graduate Students (COGS) – graduate student major governing group – • MSU Residence Hall Association (RHA – represents students who live in on-campus housing –

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU, SPARTANS, AND GLAD TO WELCOME YOU HOME, AGAIN! To reach out to us or for more information: 517-355-7535 | @msustudentaffairs


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CAMP U S Rising sophomore Maya Salamey demonstrating the use of a pipette to measure the correct amount of substance based on protocol for media at her summer campus job working at the Contreras lab at the Veterinary Medical Center on MSU's campus on June 29. This research position is what Salamey chose to fill her Animal Science major's research requirement.

SUMMER ON CAMPUS: A DAY IN THE LIFE Photo story by Lauren Snyder |

ABOVE: Salamey playing on her Nintendo Switch in her hammock hung underneath a lofted bed in her dorm Holden Hall on MSU’s campus on June 24. This is how she spends her free time in her dorm in between summer semester classes. RIGHT: Salamey looking at her assortment of YA novels in her dorm Holden Hall on MSU’s campus on June 24.



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ABOVE: Salamey watching TV in her dorm Holden Hall on MSU’s campus on June 24. This is another way Maya passes the time day-to-day. RIGHT: Salamey demonstrating how she measures sodium bicarbonate to the correct grams from protocol to be used to make media solution for cells to grow in at her summer campus job working at the Contreras Lab at the Veterinary Medical Center on MSU’s campus on June 29. BOTTOM RIGHT: Salamey balancing the rack of tubes for the centrifuge to separate cells from the media at her summer campus job at the Contreras Lab at the Veterinary Medical Center on MSU’s campus on June 29. BELOW: Salamey filling pipette tip containers for sterilization at her summer campus job working at the Contreras lab at the Veterinary Medical Center on MSU’s campus on June 29. Salamey works on research on stem cells at this lab.

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EL Mayor Aaron Stephens reflects on his year in office, considers next steps By Jack Armstrong In a virtual city council meeting on July 14, 2020, then-East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier unexpectedly resigned, telling city council members that she was going to “leave this circus to the fools who are left.” As the announcement sunk in, Aaron Stephen’s eyes widened with the realization that he was being thrust into the position of mayor during a pandemic at 24 years old. Stephens, who was born in Ypsilanti and grew up in the Rochester area, moved to East Lansing when he began attending Michigan State University. He studied political science and started an organization with a friend called Students for Sanders, in support of then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, at the age of 19. The club reached about 900 members at its peak, Stephens said, while they worked to bring Sanders to MSU. “We brought him to Michigan, where he visited Michigan State and U of M (University of Michigan),” Stephens said. “It started as a student club, and really, it ended up being just part of the campaign by the end of it.” Sanders gave a speech at MSU’s Breslin Center on March 2, 2016. On the stage with him, in front of 13,000 people at 19 years old, was Stephens. “I did his intro speech. … It got me a little bit of name recognition at that point in the area, at least to the point where people would

call me the Bernie guy,” Stephens said. But Stephens didn’t just want name recognition, he said. At that point, he said he wondered how he could pivot this into something for good that will be beneficial to a lot of people, not just his own ego. Stephens decided that he had enough experience to run for local office. When he was a 20-year-old junior in college, he announced his campaign for East Lansing City Council. He won as a senior and became the youngest city council member as well as one of the first students to have been elected to the city council. Stephens said he saw his position as a way to represent young people, which he saw as an underrepresented group of people on city council, but also to enact real change. “Young people should run for office, I think that we really should be taking hold of our future,” Stephens said. “But I think more importantly, local office is something that is going to affect your daily life so much more than other offices.” Stephens gave the example of a neighbor reaching out to him with an issue that he could understand and address with relative ease. “That’s the dream, is to be able to just help people that quickly,” he said. “Certainly you don’t get the prestige, and you definitely don’t get the money, but it is the best way to help.” After a few years, in November 2019, the council nominated Stephens to be Mayor Pro Tempore, which meant that he would become


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Stephens looks forward to coming back to the Lansing area once he’s finished his masters in political science at Harvard. “It’s a great place to end up and start a family. We’ll be back,” he said. Photo taken in East Lansing on July 23. Photo by Chloe Trofatter

Stephens reflected on this moment and what it meant to him. He said that he was scared. He said that he was worried he wouldn’t be able to rise to the occasion in a city that he thought needed leadership. And he said that his family still sends him the photo of his shocked, wideeyed face as a joke. Minutes later, during the same speech, citing plans to further his education at Harvard Kennedy Schoolfor his master’s degree in public policy, Aaron Stephens resigned from his position of mayor. “I can confidently state that I am beyond proud of what we have accomplished this past year,” Stephens said in the speech, which was later posted on his Facebook page. Stephens submitted his formal resignation to the City Clerk’s office the next day, and his resignation will be effective Aug. 11. After his resignation, Stephens said he’s not exactly sure what his next steps will be, but his main goal is to help others. “I don’t think I’m going to run for office in the future,” Stephens said. “Things might change in a few decades, but at this point, I think I’ve had my fill for a little bit.” Stephens said that he will always do something that he is passionate about, Lansing Mayor and he thinks that public policy is the best way to help the most people. “Especially if you like the sound of your own voice, like I do,” he said. “My one natural ability that was given to me when I was a kid was the ability to talk, the ability to relate to people. … I think that I need to use that for something good.” Although he is moving away, Stephens said that East Lansing is home to him and that he thinks he’ll return at some point. He described being the mayor of East Lansing during a pandemic as the most stressful job, but also the best job in the world. He also said that he has no regrets. “The God-honest truth is no, I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently,” he said.

“To push for change, you just need to have the people in the right positions to utilize that and then just run with it.”



mayor following a vacancy of the position. For Stephens, this was an honor and a privilege, and he said he thinks his nomination of this role by a council that had years of experience between them meant that they had confidence in him as a leader. Stephens had served as Mayor Pro Tem for under a year when Beier unexpectedly resigned. The City of East Lansing, still coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, had lost its mayor, city attorney and a council member in a single meeting, and it was Stephens and his council’s responsibility to fill the positions. Stephens was shocked. At one point during the meeting, he said that someone referred to him as mayor while asking if the council should take a break. “I literally verbatim said, ‘Please don’t call me that,’” he said. The next day, he quit his second job to focus on the city full-time. After filling the vacant positions, Stephens and his council turned their attention to the upcoming semester at MSU. He said it took a lot out of him, but also that he was only doing what he was supposed to be doing — serving the community. “It was service, that is what I was supposed to do, because I was the one in the seat,” Stephens said. This service included being the target of a few thrown solo cups as he walked from party to party in the fall, explaining COVID-19 regulations and passing out masks. Stephens said he would go knock on doors to talk to those that he represented, even though he never planned on running for re-election. He said that this was one of the aspects of the job that he enjoyed the most, being able to relate to the people he represented on a deeper level than email communication. He said that of all the work he has done as mayor, he is most proud of the development of East Lansing’s downtown area. “I’m a small part in a much larger group of people that made that happen, but as I walk downtown, and I see a family getting ice cream, along with college age students playing cornhole, and new restaurants and old restaurants packed to the brim with people, it makes me really happy,” he said. Stephens said that he is also proud of the criminal justice reform the city council has accomplished in the past year. He referenced work on the city’s disorderly conduct code, including doing away with the distinction between exposing Outgoing East male or female breasts in cases of disorderly conduct. Stephens also referenced the council’s creation of an independent police oversight commission in East Lansing. “We’re doing this one within a year’s time frame,” he said. “That’s pretty dang fast for government.” Stephens said that the city council’s ability to accomplish these things within a year while also operating remotely speaks to the passion in the community. “To push for change, you just need to have the people in the right positions to utilize that and then just run with it,” he said. In another virtual city council meeting on July 13, almost exactly a year after the meeting that unexpectedly made him mayor,

Aaron Stephens

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Four college friends’ children start at Michigan State over 30 years later “This can't have happened that often. That 30 years later, three college friends all have kids who happen to be the same age at Michigan State. That is kind of a big coincidence.”

By Melanie Soverinsky

Even 32 years after their graduation, these four Spartans continue to bleed green and white. Spartan alumni can hold a special bond with one another. Some friendships made at Michigan State University last forever. Lifelong friends Grace Wilcox, Karen Starr, Roseanne Reynolds and Beth Noble met during their freshman year at Michigan State. The four of them lived together in Akers hall for their first two years of school. Those small dorm rooms were where some of their best college memories were made, the four said. They have kept in touch ever since. “Beth lived across the hall from me freshman year in East Akers, and Karen lived down the hall with Roseanne,” Wilcox said. Three of the women came from different cities across Michigan. Wilcox came from New York. None of them knew each other prior to their time at Michigan State. When Wilcox, Starr, Roseanne and Noble were students, they were very involved on campus. The four played club volleyball together, spent a lot of time in the library and worked in the cafeteria, Wilcox said. In addition to involvement on campus, they spent time visiting each other and their houses. This was a special memory for them. “We did a lot of road tripping to each other’s houses on the weekends,” Wilcox said. “We would go to Beth’s house and Karen’s house and went all the way to New York to my house and made that one trip.” Following graduation, they have stayed in touch by taking girls’ trips together, having group video calls, visiting one another through family get-togethers and more. “We have gone back to Akers and the house we lived in on Stoddard Street,” Starr said. “We try to have a yearly visit and travel somewhere together once a year.” What sets this group of friends apart from other Spartan alumni is their children. In the fall, three of them will have a child at Michigan State — one sophomore and two freshmen. While it is common for Spartans’ children to follow in their parents’ footsteps, it is rare for their children to go to school at the same time, let alone be friends with one another. Noble said it is a full-circle 12

Beth Noble 1989 MSU alumna A reunion in New York at Wilcox’s parents’ home. Back row: Wilcox and Starr. Front row: MSU roommate Ellen Sampe and Roseanne. Wilcox’s niece is pictured as well. Photo courtesy of Karen Starr

moment for all three families. “This can’t have happened that often,” Noble said. “That 30 years later, three college friends all have kids who happen to be the same age at Michigan State. That is kind of a big coincidence.” All three of the students have met one another and are looking forward to having familiar faces on campus in the fall. “Having to go through my freshman year at home and not having the experience of making friends and creating my own community on campus like most freshman students, it helps to have familiar faces such as Grace and Karen’s kids,” Mya Reynolds, Rosanne’s daughter, said in an email. “It alleviates some of that social anxiety many people experience when moving to a new place where you may not know anyone.” When Wilcox’s daughter visited MSU, she stayed with Starr and her family. She thinks that really helped her decide she wanted to go to MSU. “My daughter Anne Marie wanted to go out of state,” Wilcox said. “Last October she flew out to Michigan and Karen picked her up at the airport. … She spent a couple days with them and then they met my dad and toured the Michigan State campus. “That trip really changed her mind, and I think a lot of it had to do with Karen and her son Nate. She had a good time … She is already planning her summers at Karen’s house.”


From left: Starr, Roseanne, Sampe, Wilcox and Noble in Colarado during November 2019 in Colorado. They were there to watch the Spartans play at an event sponsored by the Denver MSU Alumni club. Photo courtesy of Beth Noble

A picture of Wilcox Starr and Roseanne with their dorm-mates outside East Akers Hall in Spring 1986, their freshman year. Wilcox: back row, third from right. Starr: back row, third from left. Roseanne: front row, far right. Photo courtesy of Beth Noble

Nate will be joining Anne Marie in the fall. Coincidentally, he will be living in the same dorm that the four women met in more than 30 years before. “Nate’s first choice was Michigan State, and my husband and I both went to Michigan State,” Starr said. “I have two older children, and we tried to encourage them to go to Michigan State, but they did not end up going, which was not my first choice, but it was Nate’s. Nate worked really hard and he took a lot of the IB (International Baccalaureate) and college-level classes and is super excited.” Alongside both Anne Marie and Nate, Mya will be a food science sophomore at Michigan State in the fall. Although it will be her second year, it

parent but also extended family members who all went to Michigan State, I really had no other choice but to be a Spartan fan, I was basically born into the fandom. Growing up as a Spartan did not affect my decision to commit to Michigan State.” Mya said that when she started looking at colleges, MSU was not even on the list of schools she was interested in. “When I first began looking at colleges, Michigan State was not even on the list of schools I possibly wanted to go to,” she said in an email. “I always had the idea in my head that it was too big of a campus and I would prefer to attend a smaller university. Once I began touring different college campuses, I did a com-

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will be her first year on campus due to classes being remote and her not receiving the normal college experience. Roseanne said it is nice for her daughter to have two familiar faces in East Lansing, as well. “My daughter originally did not want to attend a big school,” Roseanne said in an email. “She agreed to tour Michigan State so she was able to compare it with other campuses. She fell in love with it after she spent the day there. With that being said, she was accepted to three other schools, but Michigan State was her top choice! For obvious reasons, we were very happy with her decision.” “I definitely grew up as a Spartan,” Mya said in an email. “Having not only a

plete 180 and decided that a bigger school was where I saw myself having that picture perfect college experience. As soon as I set foot on campus it felt like home and that’s when Michigan State became my top school choice.” Starr, Wilcox, and Roseanne said they are thrilled for their children to be at Michigan State with one another in the fall and experience the magic of being a Spartan. Also, they said they are looking forward to reuniting in East Lansing with one another and their kids on game days and other occasions. “I’m looking forward to sharing the experience of our kids going to MSU with the same group of friends that were there with me over 35 years ago,” Roseanne said.

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Thousands of jobs await students on campus By Myesha Johnson Last year, over 700 Residential and Hospitality Services, or RHS, employees were furloughed. Now, thousands of employment opportunities wait for students at Michigan State University for the fall and spring semesters. “We rely heavily on student employment in order to serve Spartans,” Chief Communications Officer of MSU’s Residential and Hospitality Services Kat Cooper said. Residential and Hospitality Services, or RHS, jobs include positions for housing, dining, hospitality areas like the Kellogg Center, golf courses, tennis courts, the Spartan Stadium, the MSU Union and the Breslin Center. “We touch so many things across campus, it’s really essential that we’re able to fill student jobs and full-time and part-time jobs from the community,” Cooper said. “There are literally thousands of jobs on campus that need to be filled by students,” Career Services Director of Employer Relations and Communications Karin Hanson said. Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations John Beck and Professor of Management in the MSU Broad College of Business Frederick Morgeson said having difficulty filling these positions can be because of a combination of reasons. One of the major arguments regarding the trend in the labor market is that unemployment insurance is too high, Beck said. He said that people can make more by not working than while working. “Many people would argue that it’s not about high unemployment insurance, it’s about low wages,” Beck said. In response, companies are increasing wages “fairly dramatically” to get workers, Beck said. Meijer, Amazon and Dominos are some of the companies that have open positions for $15 per hour in Ingham County. Morgeson said the high wages of bigger companies will make it harder for small businesses to find employees because they may not be able to pay the same rates as competitors. “You can go work at Target stocking shelves for $15 an hour or you can go to some other job that might even be harder and make $12 an hour,” Morgeson said. Beck said this is a “chicken and egg problem” because “higher wages are going to cause inflation, and you need higher wages to pay the in18

flationary prices that are now being charged.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of all items rose 5.4% from May 2020 to May 2021, the largest 12-month increase since June 1992. “A rising economy is going to have a tendency to demand more workers and more consumers,” Beck said. “Unemployed people very well may be in a situation where, even if they don’t necessarily want to go back to work, higher gasoline prices, higher rents, all of those things are going to force people back into the labor markets.” Beck and Morgeson said another possibility is that people have become used to remote work. “There’s a whole group of people that probably aren’t all that fired up to be in close proximity with other people,” Beck said.“Either they got used to a Zoom environment or to a remote work...A lot of folks suddenly understood for the first time that they could work from home. It forced them to rethink what they were doing at all.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Michigan increased from 4.9% to 5.0% from April to May. According to the Bureau, this small change continued across the nation in June. As of June 30, the national unemployment rate is 5.8%and the number of unemployed persons is 9.5 million. In addition to becoming comfortable with remote work, Morgeson said people may still be reluctant to work due to COVID-19. “The health concerns are very real, especially if they have any kind of preexisting conditions,” Beck said. “They don’t like the idea of opening themselves up to that.” Morgeson said another reason for low employment rates may be due to people leaving jobs during the pandemic. “People change jobs, they get frustrated with jobs, they look for new jobs and during the pandemic that whole process seems to have been disrupted, so people stayed in jobs that they might otherwise have left,” Morgeson said. “The impediments of finding a new job during the pandemic have been lessened.” A reduction in unemployment benefits coupled with better wages and working conditions are the conditions that Morgeson said he thinks will increase employment rates. MSU Career Services is hosting a virtual fair for local


jobs and internships from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 19. “Being as flexible as possible, creating as positive a work environment as possible are things that we know really matter to people,” Morgeson said. Cooper said that working on campus is a great way to make friends, practice time management and make money. Cooper also said that jobs in the hospitality area at MSU will help build customer service and people skills. “Those are the kinds of skills that on your resume may not get you your first job, but having those kinds of skills will help you get your second job and help you move up in your career because you’ll be better at talking to people and working together with a diverse group of people towards a common goal,” Cooper said. Hanson said that she wants students to know that on-campus jobs are flexible with class schedules, easy to get to, offer great compensation and attempt to partner students with jobs that complement their major to further enhance their skills. Michigan State University’s Career Services Network sends out weekly emails sponsored by Handshake to highlight opportunities on campus. “Not only does (campus jobs) help us, but it helps the students as well,” Hanson said. “We understand that the students are students first.”

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“Now hiring cooks” sign on the door of Lou and Harry’s on Grand River on June 23. Photo by Chloe Trofatter

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After a long history of gerrymandering, Michigan starts to take action with a redistricting commission By Rane Claypool

All eyes are on Michigan as the newly created Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, or MICRC, is drawing new district boundaries following the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal in the 2018 midterm election. The ballot proposal originated in an effort to end gerrymandering and promote fairly drawn electoral districts. According to Voters Not Politicians, 61% of Michigan citizens voted in favor of the proposal. The term “gerrymandering” refers to the manipulation of congressional district boundaries to favor a particular party. Many district boundaries in Michigan intentionally weave around specific homes, neighborhoods and streets, as to include voters with a particular ideology in one voting district. While districts may appear to be drawn randomly, there is a method behind those boundaries.



“There is a long-standing history of gerrymandering in American politics,” Democratic Lansing State Rep. Sarah Anthonysaid. “Ultimately, gerrymandering has rigged the game in terms of silencing voters, and it has really allowed elected officials to act without much accountability, and draw districts in their own favor.” A 2018 report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that “a handful of tests show that Michigan’s maps are beyond the threshold for what is considered gerrymandering, and show other signs that would indicate gerrymandering occurred.” The report looked at three tests: Michigan’s efficiency gap for Congressional and Legislative Districts, Michigan’s mean difference for Congressional and Legislative Districts and Michigan’s T-Test results from 1998 to 2016. A t-test is a method in statistics to determine the probability that groups will be randomly assigned from the same population. “I think our report quantifies that yes, in fact, Michigan is ger-

rymandered,” MICRC President Eric Lupher told Michigan Public Radio. “It’s not just sour grapes that one party has won consistently, and the other has been on the outside looking in. The game is being stacked against one of the players in the game, and that’s significant.” Following the passing of the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal, MICRC was created and includes 13 commissioners — four from the Democratic Party, four from the Republican Party and five that are not affiliated with either major party — that were all selected from a lottery. The commission counts on data from the 2020 federal census and plans to have the redistricting boundaries completed by Nov. 1. The new boundaries will be used in the 2022 primary and general elections. To ensure the boundaries are fair and equal, the commission must explain in a report how it meets all the criteria of the amendment. According to the Princeton

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Gerrymandering Project, the commission “must follow all federal requirements, including the Voting Rights Act (VRA); be contiguous; respect communities of interest; not favor any party or incumbent; follow county, city, township lines; and be compact.” The commission is also counting on the public’s input before the final versions are created. They must hold 10 public meetings before drawing the maps, and hold another five meetings to showcase the draft maps before they are officially adopted. Anthony said she hopes that the commission is looking at district configurations through the lens of equity. “What I mean by that is making sure low-income folks, people of color, marginalized communities, are not disproportionately impacted in a negative way,” Anthony said. “I think it’s really important to lots of people in our state that we’re looking at things through a lens that lifts everybody up and makes better lines for everyone.”









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MSU athletes, East Lansing businesses should consider local NIL deals

By Jared Ramsey As soon as the clock struck midnight on June 30 and we entered July, the landscape of college sports flipped on its head. College athletes in any sport could begin to sign endorsement deals to profit off their own Name, Image and Likeness, or NIL. The NCAA’s strict amateurism rules that prevented student-athletes from making money on their own brand have been removed and players are now free to sign endorsement deals for the first time ever. Seven states, Michigan included, have passed NIL legislation in their governments to accompany the NCAA’s interim NIL policy. Michigan State has been preparing for this moment since the legislation was passed in Michigan in December 2020. MSU Athletics partnered with the Burgess Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the spring to teach student-athletes how to navigate the market and build a brand. MSU also announced its own NIL program, Evergreen, which is designed to inform student-athletes about building a personal brand, making informed decisions and positioning themselves to maximize their earning power. Since July 1, the floodgates have opened as college athletes around the country began announcing NIL deals. Players made tweets saying they were open to endorsements and some even signed agents to manage them. Michigan State athletes began announcing deals on social media as soon as July 1, with Kalon Gervin plugging Pedialyte on Twitter and numerous athletes telling their followers to listen to the “Locked on Spartans” podcast. These deals were targeted at big-name players on the football team, but many deals will follow for Spartan athletes in every sport as endorsements for college athletes become more popular. So far, MSU athletes have signed deals with larger brands that are outside of East Lansing, but that should change very soon. Local businesses in the area should want to capitalize on the most famous athletes in the greater-Lansing area and sign them to advertise their business. Businesses near campus rely heavily on business from students, and an effective ad campaign with the student-athletes from MSU will help increase the awareness of the business with students who can easily recognize the stars from MSU. For example, Magic Johnson’s first advertisement deal following his time at Michigan State



was with Quality Dairy. He did a commercial to advertise a new doughnut and ice cream flavor and was in a series of photos eating ice cream that was used for advertising campaigns in the 1980s in local newspapers. That is the blueprint that local businesses should look at when exploring possible NIL deals today. There are many students that have no idea about the businesses in East Lansing when they arrive on campus, and seeing a big-name player partnered with a local business will likely lead those new students to be interested in checking them out.. Just imagine that you are a new student that has no idea about East Lansing outside of campus and you see someone like Gabe Brown or Peyton Thorne doing an ad for Pinball Pete’s. That will have more of an impact on new students than traditional ads or relying on word of mouth. That is just one example of a possible local endorsement deal for MSU athletes, but the possibilities are bountiful in the area. Here are a few that came to mind that could be pursued by East Lansing businesses right now during the uncertain frontier of student-athlete compensation. I would love to see the Juice Squad – a.k.a. MSU’s offensive line – sign a deal with a local restaurant like the Arkansas and Wisconsin offensive line did this week. There would be no better ad for a place like Crunchy’s or Pizza House than an Instagram picture of the entire offensive line having a feast at the restaurant saying this is how they fuel their body outside of the Duffy Daugherty Building. Playmakers, one of the largest running stores in the country, should consider bringing in members of the MSU Track and Field team like India Johnson or Sarah Anderson to make an appearance at the annual sidewalk sale or model their running gear on social media. Flat, Black and Circular, a record store on Grand River Ave., should consider signing MSU athletes that make music, such as wide receiver Jahz Watts, to do ads or carry their music to sell. Members of the MSU hockey team could partner with Perani’s Hockey World to model the gear and post about it or even get paid to make appearances at hockey camps that are held at Suburban Ice. Athletes in sports that do not have a direct connection with a business or that are non-revenue sports will not receive as many opportunities to sign NIL deals and should look for creative ways to partner with businesses in East Lansing. Those deals, in turn, would help increase the awareness of those programs and players in the community. Successful athletes at MSU in sports that are not highly visible still deserve recognition from the community and NIL deals. It would be amazing to see people like women’s rower Maya Elbaranes or men’s soccer star Farai Mutatu be able to capitalize on their success and fill their bank accounts. This is just a fraction of the possibilities for MSU athletes to profit off their own name, image and likeness with East Lansing businesses. It will be interesting to see the first domino to fall for this and the response from other businesses to try to create a mutually beneficial relationship with MSU athletes.

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Linebacker Terry O’Connor (58) sprints during a drill on April 24. Photo by Rahmya Trewern

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Climate change is worsening summer weather conditions By Myesha Johnson Heavy and frequent rainfall is not typical for July in Michigan, but Ingham County and other areas are experiencing it. “It is growing consensus that the weather we’re experiencing this year is very likely due to climate change or it’s worsened by climate change,” ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry professor Stephen Hamilton said. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, climate change can affect the intensity and frequency of precipitation because warmer oceans increase the amount of water that evaporates into the air, which can produce more intense precipitation. However, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy Wolfgang Bauer said the connection between our significant rainfall and climate change is not so clear. “Globally, yes, a higher surface temperature means higher water content in the atmosphere, which increases the chances for wet weather and flooding,” Bauer said in an email“But, I cannot say that this is also the case here in our microclimate.” Rainfall becoming more intense is problematic for many reasons, Hamilton said. According to the EPA, the potential impacts of heavy rain include crop damage, soil erosion, pollution to water bodies from runoff water and an increase in flood risk.

“Everybody from homeowners to farmers to the business industry needs to think about how to adapt to this new reality of a changing climate.” Stephen Hamilton Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry professor “We’re seeing more rainfall but almost more importantly is how much and how fast it falls in a given event ... when it happens in big downpours that is a big deal. It runs off fast, it causes flooding, changes water levels in lakes and rivers,” Hamilton said. “We need to think about the possibility that we’ll get even heavier rainfalls than we ever experienced and build storm drain systems that can handle that.” Hamilton said rainfall and the extreme heat in this record-hot summer in the Midwest is displaying climate change. Extreme heat conditions are defined as weather that is much hotter or humid than average for a particular time and place. Globally, the annual average temperature has been rising since the beginning of the 20th century and is expected to continue. According to Global Change, as the Earth’s cli-

mate warms, hotter-than-usual days and nights become more common and heat waves become more frequent and intense. According to the EPA, the occurrence of unusually hot summer nights has increased at a faster rate, meaning less “cooling off” at night is happening. For instance, the coldest and warmest daily temperatures of the year are expected to increase at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas by mid-century and rise to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or more by late-century, according to Global Change. In Ingham County, the Climate Explorer predicts that if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue increasing the weather will be close to 12 degrees warmer than the observed average by the year 2100. However, if emissions do not increase, Ingham County is predicted to be 5 degrees warmer by 2100. According to Global Change, large urban areas, like East Lansing, have more challenges related to heat than surrounding rural areas because of the release of heat from buildings, vehicles and industries. These infrastructures absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes, so as cities and their populations expand, so will the urban heat island effect. This makes daytime temperatures in urban areas about 1 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher and nighttime temperatures about 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit higher. According to the EPA, more extreme heat will

likely lead to an increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially if people and communities don’t take steps to adapt and protect themselves. The most common health effects caused by extreme heat are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and the possibility of worsening chronic conditions. “The more we keep generating greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, the worse the future becomes,” Hamilton said. “So, it’s very important that we do what we can, which starts with individual consumption of energy and extends also to the business industry and society at large.” Without big steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the average number of extremely hot days in the United States is projected to more than triple from 2050 to 2100, according to the EPA. “There’s a lot that individuals and society can do to reduce the threat of future climate change,” Hamilton said. “We need to adapt because given the inevitability of this changing climate, we need to find ways to be better prepared and to expect climate in the future to become more extreme than what we experienced in the past.” To prepare for extreme heat conditions people can place gardens on their roofs, install cool roofs, plant trees, replace old air conditioners and use cool paving materials in their driveways. “Everybody from homeowners to farmers to the business industry needs to think about how to adapt to this new reality of a changing climate,” Hamilton said. YOUR NEWS • YOUR VOICE • YOUR WAY




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Students looking to relax By Jack Armstrong Between classes, social lives and work, students may find themselves overwhelmed. Spartans looking to stretch their legs, get some exercise or find a nice place to relax can visit one of the many natural areas on MSU’s campus. Two of the most accessible natural areas on campus, the Sanford Natural Area and the Baker Woodlot, are perfect for exercise and relaxation. “If someone is proximal to those locations, and they have 20 or 30 minutes they want to use at their lunch break to go for a walk, it’s just a nice change of venue because it’s a little more natural,” Program Consultant for MSU Moves TJ Hall said. “The traffic, the bikes and pedestrians are really cut down.” MSU Moves is a sub-initiative of the MSU Health4U Program, which provides classes, coaching and online services in order to promote healthy lifestyles. Sanford Natural Area, a 34acre floodplain forest, is part of the original Michigan Agricultural College campus. “The dominant species there is sugar maple. Sugar maple is very common,” Chairperson for Department of Forestry and Professor Richard Kobe said. Near the west entrance, visitors can spot remnants of a sugar shack from a time when these trees were tapped for syrup. Sanford is adjacent to a section of the Red Cedar River, which gives the forest its floodplain classification and allows common floodplain growth such as bladdernut shrubs, chinkapin oak, silver maple, cottonwood and willows to flourish. “Certainly if you’ve been on campus, you know how things flood along the river there,”

forest ecology professor David Rothstein said. “So that’s just a natural part of that ecosystem, when the river is high and overflows its banks. Those kinds of seasonally flooded parts of it are a different type of ecosystem.” At the riverside, groups of ducks and geese gather noisily. In the winter, a makeshift hockey rink consisting of two nets and a few chairs can be spotted on the frozen surface of the river. Throughout the forest, spray-painted logs and tree stumps serve as a place for students to sit and relax, and Sanford’s trail system makes it great for a walk to the riverside, or to serve as part of a long-distance jog. Hall said that while the benefit of exercising on-campus versus exercising in the woods is similar, natural areas do provide advantages. “From a physiological standpoint, oftentimes running on a trail can be a little bit lower impact on the body,” he said. “If you compare running on the pavement versus running on a trail that’s got some leaf litter, bark, woodchips, things like that. The natural setting really provides a little bit more natural cushion for the joints, the knees, the hips, the back.” He said that he encourages those that experience pain from running to try running on a natural surface instead. Additionally, Hall said, exercising in these areas can provide one a feeling of mindfulness that may be hard to attain on campus. “Walking in nature opens up a new opportunity to really sort of connect with nature, observe things that maybe you hadn’t noticed before, attempt to practice mindfulness,” Hall said. The Baker Woodlot and accompanying Rachana Rajen-

“Walking in nature opens up a new opportunity to really sort of connect with nature, observe things that maybe you hadn’t noticed before, attempt to practice mindfulness.” TJ Hall MSU Moves Program Consultant dra Neotropical Migrant Bird Sanctuary within the Woodlot is located just under two miles south of the Sanford Natural Area, on the line between MSU’s concrete campus and the sprawling fields where students study agriculture and livestock. The woodlot is named after early Michigan foresters James Fred Baker and Harry Lee Baker, and contains trees, vegetation and wildflowers that provide food, water and shelter to migratory birds. These neotropical migrants, including birds like the redwinged Blackbird and the Northern Cardinal, move across continental boundaries to places like Mexico, the West Indies and Central and South America. The birds travel anywhere between a few hundred miles and thousands of miles, braving threats such as predators,

The Red Cedar River snakes through MSU, adding to its natural feel. On nice days, students can be seen at the river banks, feeding the squirrels and ducks, studying or simply enjoying the view on July 7. Photo by Chloe Trofatter 26


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MSU Professor’s journey comes full circle as artist for Tokyo Olympics By Jared Ramsey After spending 13 years competing for the United States rowing team and representing the country at two Olympics, MSU associate professor of graphic design Kelly Salchow MacArthur decided to focus on her Courtesy of Kelly other passion in life: Salchow MacArthur graphic design. MacArthur, an Associate Professor of graphic design at Michigan State, decided to retire from competition following the 2004 Olympics in



Athens after being a part of the national rowing team since 1991 and competing in the Olympics in 2000 and 2004. She said that the grind of Olympic training and pursuing a graphic design career simultaneously wore her down, and she was ready to devote all of her time and energy to graphic design after putting it on the back burner to compete internationally. “Not only was everybody on the team calling me grandma, but I also felt like I just didn’t have that incredibly driving competitive pull anymore,” MacArthur said. “I was starting to get kind of achy and feeling old and feeling like it was time to give the other part of my persona more attention and to really pursue my career in graphic design and be really excited about where that might take me next.” MacArthur’s journey brought her to East Lansing in 2006 to teach and continue her own

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The Honor Noren Curtain designed by Kelly Salchow MacArthur. This is one of the five Noren Curtains designed by MacArthur on display in Tokyo. Art courtesy of Kelly Salchow MacArthur

graphic design work focused on environmental issues and sustainability. She said she immediately knew MSU was the place for her because of the university’s prestige and ties to the natural environment. “I fell in love with the institution and the people as soon as I came for my interview, and was so impressed with just the supportive nature of the university,” MacArthur said. “And then, of course, it being a land grant institution and a Research IOne institution with a wellestablished department of art, art history and design, it felt like it was a perfect place for me.” MacArthur has worked on a number of projects in addition to her teaching, including making graphics for a national Gget Oout theo Vvote campaign during the 2020 election and an art display made entirely out of recycled plastic bags in downtown East Lansing. The desire to focus on the environment and sustainability stems from herthe countless hours spent outside rowing and seeing the best and the worst that the natural world has to offer. “I started rowing when I was 14, and I’ve rowed thousands of miles on lakes and rivers and man-made bodies of water across the world,” MacArthur said. “Some of those have been well cared for and in balance with human’s use of them, and others have been polluted and toxic. So my time in the boat and my time outside and on the water has really made me very aware of environmental balance or imbalance.” Her work and time as an Olympian have brought MacArthur’s career full circle for her next project. She was invited by the Olympics to be an Olympian Artist-in-Residence for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic games to create artwork that “celebrates the Olympic spirit and the values of excellence, friendship and respect,” according to the Olympics’ website. MacArthur, along with five other former Olympians-turned-artists from around the world, was tasked with portraying this message through traditional Japanese Noren curtains that will be on display in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo in the Olympic Agora, the cultural hub of the Olympics. Noren curtains are fabric dividers typically with eye-catching designs that are hung up in or on buildings throughout Japan. “The project prompt was to use these curtains as a way to demonstrate Olympism, kind of a broad and peaceful view of humanity, where we all come together during the Olympics to celebrate human abilities and peaceful competition,” MacArthur said. “Yet, maybe it’s even more impactful right now because we’ve come through a year of COVID and we’re still in it. And if there’s ever a time to celebrate what humanity can achieve and what we should be grateful for and the resilience that hopefully we can find through such a challenge, then, this is a great opportunity.” MacArthur said that the basis of her designs was based on a mantra she came up with when she first got the assignment: “‘The human spirit prevails., Wwe celebrate together in peace, in joy, in hope, in honor and in sport.” She designed five curtains to display the natural environment of Japan through abstract images and a combination of English and Japanese typography based on that mantra,

using the words peace, joy, hope, honor and sport in the design. The original design included the entire sentence and focused on the human form, but she decided to include the words to make the curtain design more concise and use the environment instead. She said she decided to use Japanese characters because the only people that will be at the Olympics are Japanese citizens due to the travel restrictions for fans to the Olympics due to COVID-19. “In my early sketches I was thinking about the human form and different sports and how to kind of show the amazing feats that Olympians undertake in their events,” MacArthur said. “But I started to move away from that towards abstraction because I really wanted what I was presenting to be universal. And I didn’t want it to focus on one sport, or one body type, or race or gender or anything specific, I wanted it to really appeal to everyone.” The goal, she said, was to demonstrate empathy to people that see the curtains and help them connect with the natural world around them. “I don’t think scare tactics work,” MacArthur said. “I don’t think aggression works. So, I try to find kind of the micro- or the macromoments that have connected me to the natural environment and emphasize those to bring them to the viewer. Something about this Noren curtain exhibition is that these curtains are in an urban environment where people, I’m assuming, are pretty separated from the natural environment. So, the hope is that by bringing these close-up images of really beautiful and somewhat abstract natural forms, maybe it’ll get their attention and activate some kind of response.” The design also took inspiration from MacArthur’s research through other projects that taught her about the Japanese tradition of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing. Shinrin-Yoku is a form of ecotherapy that consists of walking through natural environments and focusing on taking in the atmosphere through all five senses to help reconnect with the natural world, MacArthur said. MacArthur said that she wanted her artwork to have the same effect on people as ShinrinYoku to help connect the people living in the urban environment of Tokyo with the natural beauty of Japan. The Noren curtains were designed with the intention of having people see the art in person, MacArthur said, but will be limited to mostly online viewing because of the limited number of fans that can attend the Olympics. She said the art still looks good online but wishes that more people could see the design details that are only noticeable in person. “What unfortunately is missing is that these are huge scale; they’re 10 feet wide by 4four feet tall,” MacArthur said. “And each curtain is cut into five strips. So, they kind of wave and flow a bit. I made a lot of specific design decisions and alignments based on where those slices in the curtains would hit. So letterforms are aligned or slice right down the center and circles are framed purposefully, stuff like that. So, that’s the kind of detail that I wish people could see.”

T U ES DAY, J U LY 27, 202 1






By State News Staffers

This July, five members of The State News, along with two non-staffers who provided transportation and therefore received an invite to the tasting, sat around and tried french fries from nine different East Lansing restaurants. The Fry Fest, as it was so fondly and accurately named, allowed each of us to rate our favorite fries on a scale of one to 10. We primarily hit East Lansing hot spots, avoiding fast-

food chains. We hit all of the local bars, assuming their grills were open (sorry, The Riv), and restaurants in the area. As a disclaimer, you should know all food was received as takeout orders and some fries sat out longer than others. We tried all of the fries once and then tried them again, rating them. Also, no alcohol was consumed during the fry tasting, but assuming you sat

in the restaurant and were of age, you probably would have something to sip on. We did not consider prices when trying the fries, which may have impacted the rankings. Despite this, we think the best fries should be able to hold up and be able to be consumed with or without a beverage on the side. So with that said, here’s The State News’ official ranking of the best fries in East Lansing.


CRUNCHY’S The Crunchy’s french fry: proof

you should always get their tater tots. Maybe we just got a bad batch, but the few fries we each had were not what they needed to be. Maybe it was due to them sitting in the container a minute too long, or they were just simply bad, but Crunchy’s did not score well. When a fry was picked up, it had so little structural integrity and flopped down like a mostly cooked spaghetti noodle. Words that were tossed around the table to describe it included “sour” and “uncooked.” Crunchy’s has great karaoke and tater tots but should give fries another shot.

DUBLIN SQUARE Dublin was another East Lan-

sing bar that left us pretty disappointed. The fries would’ve benefitted from a few more minutes in the fryer because they were slightly underdone as well. They weren’t necessarily bad, but could’ve stood to have a bit more salt or other seasonings for a better flavor profile. They were very simple, and again, would more than likely come with a better experience had we had them fresh at the restaurant, but they weren’t our favorite after a 15-minute wait.

Final ranking: 3.8/10

HARRISON ROADHOUSE Harrison Roadhouse was simply there. The fries were nothing special but still weren’t the worst. They didn’t have a lot of flavor and had a thick cut, but they were cooked all the way through and were the perfect accompaniment to another meal. They’re not good enough to stand alone, but they would be fine. They were just fries, which really is all you need sometimes.

Final ranking: 4.7/10

Final ranking: 2.6/10


TIN CAN Tin Can gained some major bonus

points just based on the plating. Sitting on a nice red checkered paper, the fries were some immediate eye catchers. However, their visuals didn’t match their taste. The fries weren’t bad by any means, but they looked like they would have a stronger flavor. Compared to the fries around them, the Tin Can fries had a much more red or orange look, so we all went in expecting them to have a more cajun-y flavor. Instead, they were pretty average and had the same energy as the other fries before them.


Peanut Barrel was the perfect representation of what it was. They looked like they tasted. They didn’t push any limits, but they were pretty good. Peanut Barrel has the perfect fries to order at dinner and to just have as the last final little snacks as you’re waiting for the server to come back with your card. Their salt to fry ratio was pretty good, and ultimately, they were fine.

Final ranking: 6.1/10

Final ranking: 5.4/10

JOLLY PUMPKIN Honestly, we all expected more

from Jolly Pumpkins fries alone. Jolly Pumpkins fries were on the more expensive end of our orders, but they provided us with a pretty big box, so it was OK. What helped push Jolly Pumpkin up in the fry rating was the sauces that they had. Jolly Pumpkin’s fries were specifically shoestring truffle fries, which were a bit different than their competitors, and they did come with sauces that other places did not offer. They always come with rosemary aioli sauce, but different add ons you could try for 50 cents each were red hot sauce, ranch, smoky aioli or turmeric aioli. We had the rosemary aioli along with the smoky aioli. These fries were good, but could not compete with the top three.

Final ranking: 6.7/10



The State News @thesnews TU ESDAY, JU LY 27, 202 1



The State News


An assortment of fries tried at Fry Fest on July 6. Photo by Chloe Trofatter



Conrad’s absolutely did not disappoint. The only waffle fry we got to try, Conrad’s has the perfect flavor profile in their order. It makes sense why it’s the MSU students number one drunk food drop off location. We could tell the fries were made in the same oil they used for onion rings, but the flavor was great and they were left in the fryer the perfect amount of time. They don’t come with a ton of fries, but they are the perfect side order’s worth.

Final ranking: 7.6/10

RENO’S SPORTS BAR AND GRILL Reno’s was the major shock of the night. A majority of the people had never had it, and it’s not exactly in downtown East Lansing. A little but further out, Reno’s is the perfect place to get a little bit away from campus and stop for a quick bite while family is visiting. And WOW. The fries were so good that our rankings for the top two were actually an exact tie. In a final vote, three people voted for Reno’s while four people voted for our first place recipient. Reno’s fries were a shock. We got their truffle parmesan fries, which also came with a roasted garlic aioli dipping sauce. The fries themselves were sprinkled with garlic, parmesan, fresh herbs and cracked pepper. When the first bite was taken, one of the staffers described it as a “glorious fry.” And it was.

Final ranking: 8.7/10

HOPCAT Listen, we didn’t want this to be the winner either. We fought it hard. We checked our biases and preconceptions at the door. We went in with an open mind thinking something would lay claim to the throne. But there’s a reason HopCat is known for their Cosmik Fries. The beer-battered, black pepper-covered fries were amazing on their own. But when they were accompanied by the classic HopCat cheese sauce, they truly were unmatched. The fries were delicious, and are perfectly sweet and savory at the same time. Four of the seven of us rated HopCat as our favorite fries of the night, which seems to be proof that they truly do live up to the hype.

Final ranking: 8.7/10

Fries from the Tin Can, ranked #6. Photo by Chloe Trofatter

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