Taking Chances and Making a Change

By Erika Kurachi

I am happy to write the second report about my experiences with RISE!! This week, I learned two important things.


First, members of MSU share policies put in place by Be Spartan Green, which is the campus organization that focuses on university sustainability and environmental concerns. Following the policies, students tackle with environmental problems individually. The most symbolic activity of this was at the Recycling Center on MSU’s campus. On such a large campus, garbage disposal would be difficult with a lot of trash. However, the university took advantage of that. They started a project to reuse, resell, and recycle in order to achieve sustainability. In the project, they mainly collect unnecessary equipment and furniture from students and resell it to departments of the university or other customers at a lower price. This will lead not only to diminishing waste but also to raise the awareness of the importance of recycling among students. In addition, what surprised me was the numerous selections of goods. There were a lot of machines, doors, and large boards. It was unfamiliar for me to see these things in recycling shops, but I found such large waste can be utilized again. I am impressed that all of the members in RISE and others throughout MSU are willing to get involved in the ‘Be Spartan Green’ concept and hope that these measures will spread to other universities to tackle social problems on a global scale.


Second, there are many ‘safe’ and ‘great’ communities for students to be challenged and take leadership in MSU. I recognized this when I interviewed RISE members and visited the Dairy Store. When I interviewed one student, she said that one of the great points in RISE was that students were encouraged to take action, but at the same time were allowed to fail. Since students are still ‘students’, it is true that sometimes they can take the wrong direction because of their lack of knowledge. Professors understand this well, and still urge them to take action even if they can fail. This program is wonderful in that it is a safe network for training and this experience helps students to take risks, which is the most important lesson that can be hard to learn. In another case, when I went to the MSU Dairy Store, I heard from other RISE members that this store sells ice cream and cheese whose ingredients were produced on the campus farm, and the ice cream flavors were invented by students. In this case, you can also see that students are provided with the chance to make use of the resources on campus and manage them efficiently. These communities are great in that students can learn how to contribute not only to the campus but also to the society.


All in all, MSU tries to get students to take action, and what is interesting for me is that these projects always have some connection with social problems. This can be one of the answers of my question of last week ‘Why are American students interested in social issues?’ I want to continuously find curious topics and absorb good points as much as possible within the rest of the month!


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