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@MSU Newsletter | March 2019


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Helping others is good for your heart. Boost your health by volunteering April 13 in our Global Day of Service. Join an established project in need of participants or feel free to create your own. 

It's another way Spartans can join forces and make big impacts on communities and organizations near and dear.

Register as a volunteer or create a project of your choosing. Get the skinny on the effort here.

Since 2013, our SPARTANS WILL. SERVE boasts more than 9,000 volunteers in 725 locations who provided 45,000 hours of community service. 

Go Green!

Talk about a Spartan twofer!

Spartan fans: You have a first-ever opportunity April 13. In the morning, participate in the inaugural Izzo Legacy Run/Walk. In the afternoon, be in the stands for the Green and White Spring Spartan Football game.

The run/walk is the brainchild of the Izzo family. Recently, they established a charitable fund to benefit the greater Lansing and MSU community through the Community Foundation.  

Choose a 5K run/walk, a one-mile walk, a half-mile children's run, the Spartan Sprint children's run, or do the virtual Izzo 5K no matter where you live. On campus, racers will begin outside the Breslin Center and finish at Spartan Stadium—where they can enjoy the thrill of taking a victory lap around the field. 

Race entry fees range from $20-$40, depending on respective events. And there's swag: T-shirts, race bibs, and even medals. 

Proceeds will benefit such organizations as the Greater Lansing Food Bank, MSU's Safe Place, Ele's Place and Cristo Rey, among others.

Playmakers Fitness Foundation and On Target Living are co-hosting the Izzo Legacy Run/Walk run, which looks to become an annual event. Register now.

The philosophy of fun

Here's one for our truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category: An imaginative Spartan with degrees in philosophy and business is designing world-renowned theme parks and rollercoasters.

Jeremy Thompson, '12, belongs to the ThinkWell Group. A global design and production agency, ThinkWell helps companies create custom experiences at amusement parks, museums, and more.

Among Thinkwell's clients are Walt Disney, Paramount, Lego, and Universal Studios. Thompson is known for turning concepts and competing viewpoints into over-the-top guest experiences.

Most recently, Thompson helped develop the whopping $1 billion Warner Brothers World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He oversaw the creative integration of the park’s three roller coaster attractions: Fast & Furry-ous; Tom & Jerry: Swiss Cheese Spin; and The Riddler Revolution. On top of that, he's also been called on to write for such characters as the Joker and Scooby-Doo. 

It pays to nurture your inner child. Learn more.

Building global relationships...with chocolate

Spartan grad commissions chocolate factory in Madagascar

In the fall of 2003, Nate Engle was one of a handful of MSU grads selected to serve in the Peace Corps. He flew to Madagascar where he worked to improve agricultural development in a rural village.

Seven years later, another former Madagascar Peace Corps volunteer reached out and asked Nate to join his chocolate company, Madécasse.

Their vision was to create and grow ethical trade relationships between Madagascar and the U.S. through the development of high-quality, organic chocolate—and it quickly became a reality.

Madécasse consistently cultivates empowering relationships with local farmers—but it reached new heights after recently opening a new chocolate factory. As the director of operations at Madécasse, Nate was at the helm making sure everything went smoothly.

“Having a chocolate factory in the ‘country of origin’ with international production norms and standards is very, very rare in the context of the global chocolate industry,” said Engle, '03.

Want to try a taste? Madécasse chocolate can be found across the country in such stores as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Harris Teeter, and Michigan-based D&W Fresh Market, Plum Market, and others.

Celebrating an Extraordinary campaign

MSU's most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, Empower Extraordinary, concluded on December 31 with $1,834,145,673 raised during the past seven years.
Publicly launched in October 2014, the campaign set out to make a difference for students and faculty and expand MSU’s impact through research in areas of critical importance to the world.  

Record giving by donors pushed the university past its original goal of $1.5 billion. With a total of 255,284 donors overall, the campaign finished strong in December with the best month on record for fundraising, at $59.4 million for the month and more than $1.24 billion received in cash and new pledges.

What can $1.8 billion do? 
For students like Tim Herd, a senior in elementary education and a Truman Scholar nominee, it helps provide research opportunities that are helping to steer him toward his next step: a doctoral degree and a career in research.

Alumni Events and Travel

Upcoming Events

April 13, 2019
MSU Global Day of Service

June 25–27, 2019
Grandparents University

Alumni Club Events

Spartan Pathways Travel

September 17–25, 2019
West Ireland Featuring County Kerry

October 1–10, 2019
St. Lawrence Seaway & French Canada

October 27–November 4, 2019
Majestic Vistas: Venice to Rome