Inspiring Spartans To Grow

September 2, 2015
The Student Services Building, home of MSU Student Affairs and Services.

The Student Services Building, home of MSU Student Affairs and Services.

MSU Student Affairs: It’s where students come to learn, lead, and grow beyond the classroom.

Every Spartan will come in contact with the Division of Student Affairs and Services at some point during their Michigan State experience. Whether students are seeking campus involvement, self discovery, or personal wellness, Student Affairs has something for everyone.

“We in Student Affairs do everything with students in mind,” says Dr. Denise B. Maybank, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services and a nationally recognized leader in student affairs. “The welfare and wellbeing of each and every one of our more than 50,000 Spartans is of paramount importance to us.”

“Indeed, 'we inspire Spartans to grow,’” says Maybank, quoting the MSU Student Affairs motto.

Encompassing a broad range of interests and functions, the division serves as the primary hub for engaging students on and off campus.

“Our goal is to enrich the college experience through three key areas: Transition, Leadership, and Experiential Learning; Identity and Affinity; and Health, Wellness, and Safety,” Maybank explains. “Together, these three areas work to position Spartans for success before, during, and after their college experience.”

All the opportunities within Student Affairs and Services can be explored by following the links at the top of this page. A few of the units and departments are profiled below.

Dr. Denise Maybank, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.

Dr. Denise Maybank, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.

Transition, Leadership, and Experiential Learning

Some students see college only as school, but there’s so much more to gain from the experience—especially at MSU. In addition to providing a world-class education, Michigan State University also develops leaders, provides access to internships, and prepares students for fulfilling careers and lives after they receive their diploma.

Student organizations are some of the best opportunities for developing one’s skills and experiences outside of the classroom. With more than 700 registered student organizations on campus, there’s bound to be something to fit every student’s taste. If not, the Student Life office is always ready to help with the process of starting a new group. The benefits of officially registering a student group are multifold, including access to meeting spaces on campus and opportunities for funding from the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), the undergraduate student government.

If politics is your game, ASMSU is made up of student representatives—undergraduates elected to their positions each year. The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) is the elected student organization for MSU’s graduate students. In addition to deciding on legislation pertaining to campus life, these elected students meet with the university administration to discuss policies that directly affect students. ASMSU and COGS also play an important role in setting up social events and bringing in speakers, performers, and musicians from all over the world to MSU.

Some of the most important events on campus each year are thanks to other departments in Student Affairs and Services such as the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement and the Career Services Network. Service-Learning offers students a wide variety of community, educational, service, and volunteer opportunities with nonprofit, government, school, health care, and advocacy groups. Career Services also is behind MySpartanCareer, an online portal open only to MSU students and recent graduates that posts hundreds of jobs and internships. In fact, most on-campus work can be found only through MySpartanCareer.

The OCAT conference room wall is adorned with photos from the “Our MSU” project.

The OCAT conference room wall is adorned with photos from the “Our MSU” project.

Health, Wellness, and Safety

MSU is committed to the physical and mental wellbeing of all Spartans. Students can keep their bodies healthy in numerous ways through Recreational Sports and Fitness Services. Gyms, pools, a sailing center, and other facilities and fields are available for individuals, clubs, and intramural sports teams. The three on-campus centers can be accessed with a semester pass or a small fee per visit, while some facilities require no more than an MSU ID card to enter. Group exercise programs in everything from yoga to cycling run all semester.

Not all health concerns are physical, which is where services like the Counseling Center and its nationally recognized Sexual Assault Program come in. The Counseling Center and Sexual Assault Program offer quality, confidential mental health and wellness services to students free of charge, with walk-in hours for students in crisis.

“Having services like counseling is really important so that students can succeed personally and academically,” says Bianca Segura, who works as an Advocacy Coordinator in the Sexual Assault Program. Segura says that she and her colleagues make sure that students always have access to well-rounded services, no matter their needs and concerns.

Students training to become 2015 Graduate Career Advisers.

Students training to become 2015 Graduate Career Advisers.

Identity and Affinity

MSU prides itself on the diversity of its student body. Meaghan Kozar, a coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions (OCAT), says that bringing together diverse communities is one of her favorite things about working in Student Affairs and Services at Michigan State.

In addition to boosting cultural awareness, she says, OCAT builds leaders. “I love working specifically with emerging leaders and students brand new to MSU,” says Kozar.

The many identity-based departments in Student Affairs offer numerous opportunities for students to get connected to—and lead—groups of their peers. Departments include the LBGT Resource Center, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, the Student Veterans Resource Center, MSU Religious Advisors Association, Greek Affairs, and Mosaic: The Multicultural Unity Center.

These departments, and more, make up the backbone of the annual Spartan Remix event, where several dozen departments and student organizations gather in the field by the Auditorium and the Rock in a collaborative celebration of culture.

More Than Just School

MSU’s Student Affairs and Services is full of opportunities ready to be seized. Even students who are familiar with the division often are surprised by its enormous array of services and resources, only a few of which are featured in this article.

Visit a Student Affairs and Services department today. With new opportunities emerging practically every day, MSU Student Affairs will continue to inspire Spartans to grow.

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