History and Traditions Remain Strong

March 24, 2021

Hey Spartans, 

As we begin to make some progress with stopping the spread of COVID-19, I’ve been looking back on this past year and remembering all that I’ve experienced. This got me thinking; we spend so much time thinking about what our futures will look like, we sometimes forget our past. 

This week I want to dive into some Michigan State University history and take a look at some lasting traditions that nothing – not even COVID-19 – could take away. 

Go Green, Go White:

We all know and love the famous cheer, “Go Green, Go White,” but do you know how deep that cheer runs through Spartans’ blood? According to the Gerben Trademark Library, the phrase was first used in 1975, and since then has been trademarked by MSU. This cheer has become a way of connection for thousands of Spartans all over the world. No matter where I travel, whenever I shout out, “Go Green” I always hear a “Go White” back. It’s so much more than a cheer; it’s something that binds all of us together as Spartans, even through the most trying of times. 


Do you know where our nickname came from?

In 1925, Michigan Agricultural College became Michigan State College, meaning the nickname “Aggies” needed to be replaced. According to this information from Michigan State University Athletics, originally, the contest-winning nickname was “The Michigan Staters,” but George S. Alderton, a sports editor for the Lansing State Journal wasn’t going to settle for that. Alderton reached out to Jim Hasselmen, who worked in information services to see if he could take a second look at the contest entries. It was then that he stumbled upon the name “Spartans,” and was finally satisfied. Alderton never wrote down who submitted the name. He began using the “Spartans” when editing articles for the Lansing State Journal, and soon, so did the Lansing Capital News. No one raised concerns about this new name change, so they kept using it until it stuck. Once the student publication picked it up, there was no turning back. From then on, we have been the Michigan State Spartans. 

Sparty Mascot: 

Sparty is everyone’s favorite face to see around campus or at any event. In the past four years, Sparty has won three national championships at the Universal Cheer Association’s Mascot competition in Orlando, Fla., according to information from MSU Athletics In 2004, Sparty became the first Big Ten mascot to claim the national title and in 2005 and 2007, Sparty claimed the title again. The first version of Sparty was created in 1955 by Theta Xi, made mostly of papier-mache. Since then, Sparty’s gotten a huge upgrade and is now made of many hi-tech materials, including a vinyl chest plate and fiberglass molds – the same kind of molds used to create the Muppets, according to the article. Sparty’s uplifting personality embodies the nature of MSU and has become a fundamental part of Michigan State’s campus. 

You see, Spartans, even during these challenging times, our traditions run strong through our MSU community. We know that constantly adapting can be exhausting, but always remember that you will consistently have your fellow Spartans. 




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