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@MSU Newsletter | August 2018


Read your summer alumni magazine online today

Print copies are in the mail but you don't have to wait to read the summer issue of Spartan magazine. It's online now. And it's easy to read and share.

Hear from MSU's Interim President John Engler. Catch up on an array of new and newly re-imagined buildings. And find out how three Spartans are changing the world in their respective endeavors.

Young Spartan helps Starbucks say "NO" to straws

Have you heard about the no-straws movement?

Plastic straws are consistently ranked on the list of top types of debris pulled from the ocean each year. This has led food retailers who serve cold, delicious beverages (such as Starbucks) to consider alternatives for their iced-coffee-slurping patrons.

And wherever there's a need for innovation, there's always a Spartan. 

Emily Alexander—2011 grad from the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Natural Science—helped develop Starbucks' cold-cup plastic lid, an easy way for customers to enjoy their chilled beverages straw-free. 

Before she became an engineer for Global Research and Development at Starbucks, Alexander was a packaging and chemistry student at MSU. Starbucks doesn't allow her to speak about her work to the press, but that didn't stop her former MSU professor from boasting about her accomplishments.

"It makes us very proud that we were able to be a small part of this by giving her the ability to gain skills she then to put to use in a very practical way that can make big changes," said Susan Selke, a professor and the director of MSU's packaging program, in an interview with WILX

As a result of Alexander and her team's work, Starbucks will eliminate straws in all of its 28,000 stores worldwide by the year 2020.

Read the original story here

MSU upcycles former Shaw Lane Power Plant

The backbone of Spartan ingenuity rests on maximizing resources and preserving legacy. The recent plans for the Shaw Lane Power Plant are the latest evidence of that. 

MSU is reconstructing the old 1940s power plant into a STEM Teaching and Learning Facility. Construction crews are expected to break ground next month and word on the street is the center will be operational by 2020. It will feature undergrad teaching laboratories, project labs, breakout areas, student commons, and a gallery. 

The old power plant had a large smokestack with the letters MSC written on the side (standing for Michigan State College, of course). A campus landmark, students and alumni were heartbroken when the smokestack had to be taken down for structural reasons in 2011. 

But the small building will be a noteworthy landmark once more. This state-of-the-art plan to rehab the old power plant honors MSU's history of scientific vision while investing in the future. 

Photo: Lansing State Journal

Shakespeare goes to Chicago

What would happen if a Shakespearean comedy came to life in the modern age? One Spartan in Chicago is exploring those possibilities alongside a cast of brilliant fellow actors from the First Folio Theatre

Ray Andrecheck, a 1979 grad from the College of Arts and Letters, is a part of the talented cast of SHREW'D, a musical that takes Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and reimagines it as a tale of two sisters in the 1930s trying to make a mark in their father's Chicago nightclub. The two meet Petruchio and Lucentio . . . and you'll have to see for yourself how the rest of the story unfolds. 

A blend of Shakespeare's dialogue—and original music and lyrics with a Chicago twist—provide an unparalleled fusion of the original comedy and its modern adaptation. 

Andrecheck, who plays Vincentio, Lucentio's father, has had quite a career since he left the banks of the Red Cedar. He was formerly one of the top models in the country and has been cast in many productions, including The Odd Couple, Elemeno Pea, and others. 

Traveling to Chicago this month? See SHREW'D for yourself. Final show is August 19!

Kay Kay strives to dominate Detroit's fashion world

Meet Kelechi (kah-letch-chi) Uchendu (oo-chen-do). This Nigerian-American entrepreneur is kicking you-know-what in the Detroit Fashion Worldand taking names. 

She runs her own mini fashion empire as the CEO of Kay Kay's World, LLC. She runs her own fashion blog, Kay Kay's Way, and owns Kay Kay's Fashion, a metro-Detroit-based clothing store. Oh, and in her spare time, she's a contributing writer to Detroit Fashion News

For this young Spartan, who graduated with degrees from the colleges of Social Science and Natural Science in 2013, it's clear that the future is bright. (Did we mention her designs have been picked up by Vogue and Tatler magazines?) 

"I was inspired by all of the women of African descent running their own businesses," she said in an interview with Medium. "Hearing stories like these from other black women has really given me the motivation I needed." 

Grab your tissue box...

Because Khari Willis' inspirational speech at the Big Ten Kickoff lunch in Chicago last month was a tearjerker. 

Speaking as the Big 10 player representative, the MSU senior safety delivered a riveting speech calling on his fellow Big Ten players to make a difference in their communities. 

"We can go back to the communities where a kid is dreaming on a (football) Saturday just like we were a few years ago," he said to the crowd. "We can go back, and we can give back. We can be an example for the future kids to come."

He finished by saying: "So I challenge all of the other student-athletes here today. Let's continue to make our light shine." 

Check out the speech here.

What do you call two Spartans on a golf course?


While this wasn't a classic networking event, the U.S. Senior Open at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs provided an opportunity for two people from different walks of life to say, "Hey, I'm a Spartan too."

Mark Kelbel, a 1984 grad from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a head golf professional at the club, had the unique opportunity to meet Holly Sonders, a pro golfer and FOX Sports Host. She also graduated from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, but in 2009. 

It just goes to show, there's nothing like a day out on the green to bring Spartans together.