Student life @MSU
East Lansing is very much a college town, with 60.2% of the population between the ages of 15 and 24. President John A. Hannah's push to expand in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in the largest residence hall system in the United States. Around 16,000 students live in MSU's 23 undergraduate halls, one graduate hall, and three apartment villages. Each residence hall has its own hall government, with representatives in the Residence Halls Association. Yet despite the size and extent of on-campus housing, the residence halls are complemented by a variety of housing options. 58% of students live off-campus, mostly in the areas closest to campus, in either apartment buildings, former single-family homes, fraternity and sorority houses, or in a co-op.
In 2014 there were approximately 50,085 students, 38,786 undergraduate and 11,299 graduate and professional. The students are from all 50 states and 130 countries around the world.
With over 3,000 members, Michigan State University's Greek Community is one of the largest in the US. Started in 1872 and re-established in 1922 by Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, and Alpha Phi sorority; the MSU Greek system now consists of 55 Greek lettered student societies. These chapters are in turn under the jurisdiction of one of MSU's four Greek governing councils: National Panhellenic Conference, North American Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Independent Greek Council. National Pan-Hellenic Council is made up of 9 organizations, 5 Fraternities and 4 Sororities, that were founded on Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU's). The Interfraternity Council and the Women's Panhellenic Council are each entirely responsible for their own budgets, giving them the freedom to hold large fundraising and recruitment events. MSU's fraternities and sororities hold many philanthropy events and community fundraisers. For example, in April 2011 the Greek Community held Greek Week to raise over $260,000 for the American Cancer Society, and $5,000 for each of these charities: Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Listening Ear and previous charities include: the Make-a-Wish Foundation (MSU Chapter), Share Laura's Hope, The Mary Beth Knox Scholarship, and the Special Olympics, in which fraternity and sorority members get to help each other participate.
The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is the all-university undergraduate student government of Michigan State University. It is unusual amongst university student governments for its decentralized bicameral structure, and the relatively non-existent influence of the Greek system. The structure has since changed to a single General Assembly as part of reorganization in the late 2000s. ASMSU representatives are nonpartisan and many are elected in noncompetitive races. Their mission is to enhance the individual and collective student experience through education, empowerment, and advocacy by education to the needs and interest of students. Some services they offer include: free blue books, low cost copies and printing, free yearbooks, interest free loans, funding for student organizations, free legal consultation, and iClicker and graphing calculator rentals.
Students pay $18 per semester to fund the functions of the ASMSU, including stipends for the organization's officers and activities throughout the year. Some students have criticized ASMSU for not having enough electoral participation to gain a student mandate. Turnout since 2001 has hovered between 3 and 17 percent, with the 2006 election bringing out 8% of the undergraduate student body.
Student-run organizations beyond student government also have a large impact on the East Lansing/Michigan State University community. Student Organizations are registered through the Department of Student Life, which currently has a registry of over 800 student organizations.
The Eli Broad College of Business includes 27 student organizations of primary interest to business students. The three largest organizations are the Finance Association (FA), the Accounting Student Association (ASA), and the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA). The SCMA is the host of the university's largest major specific career fair. The fair attracts over 100 companies and over 400 students each year.
Activists have played a significant role in MSU history. During the height of the Vietnam War, student protests helped create co-ed residence halls, and blocked the routing of Interstate 496 through campus. In the 1980s, Michigan State students convinced the University to divest the stocks of companies doing business in apartheid South Africa from its endowment portfolio, such as Coca-Cola. MSU has many student groups focused on political change. Graduate campus groups include the Graduate Employees Union and the Council of Graduate Students. Michigan State also has a variety of partisan groups ranging from liberal to conservative, including the College Republicans, the College Democrats and several third party organizations. Other partisan activist groups include Young Americans for Freedom and Young Americans for Liberty on the right; Young Democratic Socialists, Students for Economic Justice, Young Communist League and MEChA on the left. Given MSU's proximity to the Michigan state capital of Lansing, many politically inclined Spartans intern for state representatives.
The MSU Office of Sustainability works with the University Committee for a Sustainable Campus to "foster a collaborative learning culture that leads the community to heightened awareness of its environmental impact." The University is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world's first greenhouse gas emission registry, and boasts the lowest electrical consumption per square foot among Big Ten universities. The University has set a goal of reducing energy use by 15%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15%, reducing landfill waste by 30% by 2015.
The university has also pledged to meet LEED-certification standards for all new construction. In July 2009, the University completed construction of a $13.3 million recycling center, and hopes to double their 2008 recycling rate of 14% by 2010. The construction of Brody Hall, a residence hall of Michigan State University Housing, was completed in August 2011 and qualified for LEED Silver certification because the facility includes a rain water collection tank used for restroom fixtures, a white PVC roof, meters that will monitor utilities to make sure they are used efficiently, and the use of recycled matter and local sources for building materials.
The Environmental Steward's program support's president Simon's "Boldness by Design" strategic vision to transform environmental stewardship on campus within the seven-year time frame. Environmental stewards promote environmental changes among co-workers and peers, be points of contact for their department for environment-related concerns, and be liaisons between the Be Spartan Green Team and buildings.
The Student Organic Farm is a student-run, four-season farm, which teaches the principals of organic farming and through a certificate program and community supported agriculture (CSA) on ten acres on the MSU campus. The certificate program consists of year round crop production, course work in organic farming, practical training and management, and an off-site internship requirement.
MSU has a variety of campus media outlets. The student-run newspaper is the The State News and free copies are available online or at East Lansing newsstands. The paper prints 28,500 copies from Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters, and 15,000 copies Monday through Friday during the summer. The paper is not published on weekends, holidays, or semester breaks, but is continually updated online at statenews.com. The campus yearbook is called the Red Cedar Log. Red Cedar Review, Michigan State University's premier literary digest for over forty years, is the longest running undergraduate-run literary journal in the United States. It is published annually by the Michigan State University Press.
MSU also publishes a student-run magazine during the academic year called Ing Magazine. Created in 2007 by MSU alumnus Adam Grant, the publication is released at the beginning of each month and publishes 7 issues each school year. MSU also publishes a student-run fashion and lifestyle magazine called VIM Magazine once a semester.
Electronic media include three radio stations and one public television station, as well as student-produced television shows. MSU's Public Broadcasting Service affiliate, WKAR-TV, the station is the second-oldest educational television station in the United States, and the oldest east of the Mississippi River. Besides broadcasting PBS shows, WKAR-TV produces its own local programming, such as a high school quiz bowl show called "QuizBusters". In addition, MSU has three radio stations; WKAR-AM plays National Public Radio's talk radio programming, whereas WKAR-FM focuses mostly on classical music programming. Michigan State's student-run radio station, WDBM, broadcasts mostly alternative music during weekdays and electric music programming nights and weekends.