Those who really know the city of Detroit are aware of its countless triumphs, big and small, and its enduring spirit. Stories of renewal and resurgence abound, as many, including Spartans, continue to invest in the city, its work, and its people.
For decades, Michigan State University has been working with partners in Detroit to support economic development, advance the arts, transform schools, improve health, and sustain the environment. Like Detroit, MSU values resilience, hard work, and a commitment to solving problems and empowering people for better lives.
These stories reflect some of the many ways Spartans are working with the people of Detroit to ensure a stronger tomorrow.
MSU clinic brings family doctor back to underserved area
Serving as the university’s first clinic outside the Lansing region, The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Popoff Clinic provides care for eastside residents, as well as clinical learning opportunities for osteopathic medicine students and doctors in training through the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority.
Investing in Detroit’s resurgence
MSU will take its Eli Broad College of Business Executive MBA program to the Detroit where it will be the first MBA program of this kind offered in the city. As added support, MSU will provide scholarships to reduce the cost of the program by half to professionals who work in the nonprofit sector or are members of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
collaborating to create beautiful and productive green spaces
A group dedicated to supporting urban reforestation has hired more than 180 Detroit high school students for its summertime youth employment program. Following a curriculum created by Michigan State University, participants in the Green Corps program will care for trees, farm gardens and green spaces throughout city.
Verses Project: Exploring Literacy through Lyrics and Song
A collaboration between MSU Community Music School, the Marshall Mathers Foundation and Carhartt is providing students the opportunity to learn the art of songwriting, composing, performing, wordsmithing, mixing and recording using the latest technology.
MSU Museum presents 'Taking Back Detroit'
The MSU Museum is partnering with National Geographic to present “Taking Back Detroit,” inspired by the magazine’s recent feature depicting the city of Detroit’s comeback as it emerges from bankruptcy. “Taking Back Detroit” profiles real Detroiters in their own words, and gives a glimpse of the challenges, hopes, ideas, grit and determination that will help reinvent the city. The exhibit opens in the MSU Museum’s Main Gallery June 24 and runs through January 2017.
Joining the city’s reinvention
Many MSU grads find employment in Detroit, from auto companies to Quicken Loans to Metro Detroit-area health systems and more. The MSU Alumni Magazine dedicated an issue to the connections between MSU and Detroit and how they are making the city a better place.
Designing for local businesses
When MSU alumnus and founder of Detroit Friends Potato Chips Michael Wimberly was looking to differentiate the company’s brand, he turned to advertising students in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. The opportunity provided the students with real-world experience while giving Detroit Friends a wide range of unique and creative packaging ideas.
Launching Detroit Businesses
The MSU Product Center partners with Detroit businesses to bring their products to market. The center helped client Nailah Ellis-Brown, founder and CEO of Ellis Infinity specialty tea company, to secure deals with Meijer and Whole Foods and to negotiate lease agreements. Now her products are sold across five states.
Leading cutting-edge automotive research
MSU will be adding a second site dedicated to composite materials research for vehicles located in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Part of the national Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation, the large-scale manufacturing facility will be staffed and operated by MSU.
Working together in the city
Detroit and Michigan State have a long history together. The city accounts for a large share of MSU’s student enrollment and alumni base. And the university’s involvement in Detroit reflects every facet of its mission—education, research, and service.
The MSU Detroit Center, opened on Woodward Avenue in 2009, is a physical investment in the community that is home to MSU’s Community Music School-Detroit as well as several other programs and offices. The center serves as an anchor of MSU’s presence in the region, extending programming throughout the community that engages Detroiters of all ages.
Growing Food Opportunities
MSU is a longtime partner in Detroit food initiatives—from urban gardens and farmers’ markets to entrepreneurial endeavors that bring healthy food to those who need it most.
MSU is a partner in the Michigan Good Food Fund—a new public-private partnership loan and grant fund created to finance healthy food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities throughout Michigan.
The MSU College of Law’s Detroit Food Law Clinic provides legal services for local entrepreneurs, community groups, and nonprofits looking to launch their own food businesses at Eastern Market in Detroit, counseling on health, safety, and agricultural regulations.
Detroit Kitchen Connect is a collaborative project between FoodLab Detroit and the Eastern Market Corporation with support from the MSU Product Center to provide reliable, accessible shared-use commercial kitchen space for local entrepreneurs to process high-quality food products in a diverse and collaborative learning environment.
MSU Extension educators work with farmers market managers in Detroit and around the state to help them develop systems to accept Bridge cards at their markets, ensuring families have access to fresh, local food.
Fueling wonder with Science
MSU’s annual Science Festival hosted its first Detroit Day to bring science exploration and fun to residents of all ages.
Teaching and practicing medicine for a healthier Detroit
The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) supports a thriving graduate medical education system in Detroit. In Wayne County alone, 370 osteopathic residents practice and continue their educations in 44 programs.
The college offers a program called Future DOcs at Detroit’s Ben Carson High School. Students who are selected for this program take part in sessions to learn about osteopathic medicine, get mentoring from MSUCOM students, build their study skills, and improve their leadership abilities.
MSUCOM students volunteer throughout the metro Detroit area, serving at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, at numerous health fairs, and, most recently, during Metro Detroit Youth Day.
MSUCOM partners with the Community Health and Social Services Center, a Detroit community-based nonprofit that has been providing underserved and uninsured populations with quality and accessible health care. MSUCOM students complete clinical rotations as well as volunteer at the center.
There are 472 MSUCOM alumni living in Wayne County. One of these individuals is Richard Bryce, who is a family medicine physician at the Community Health and Social Services Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center in southwest Detroit.
Producing the Next Generation of Urban Educators
College of Education students in the Urban Educators Cohort Program gain the knowledge and skills they need to teach in urban schools through focused courses and guided teaching experiences in real classrooms from their first semester at MSU through the end of their 5th-year internship.
Hundreds of future teachers have participated in the College of Education’s Urban Immersion Fellowship in the past decade. MSU teaching students spend seven weeks teaching in Detroit Public Schools’ summer school program or in community programs serving youths.
MSU offers the Master of Arts in K-12 Educational Administration in downtown Detroit. Classes are held at the MSU Detroit Center, providing a convenient location for local educators who aspire to leadership positions in schools.
Instilling high school students with teaching aspirations
The Summer High School Scholars program increases urban teenagers’ knowledge about higher education and acts as a successful “pipeline” to MSU academic programs and teacher education in particular.
Developing coaching programs that inspire
MSU’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports has been a partner in a unique, long-term program with Think Detroit Police Athletic League, a youth development organization. The institute helped create the IMPACT Coach Leadership training program for Detroit PAL’s 1,500+ coaches and managers.
Reducing gang violence
During the past two decades, MSU sociology professor Carl Taylor has conducted field research projects in Detroit aimed at understanding gangs and youth culture and reducing violence.
Program gets boost helping more students from Detroit succeed
MSU alumni Dan and Jennifer Gilbert today announced a $15 million donation from their family foundation to impact and elevate student success and one of the nation’s elite basketball programs. The Gilberts’ gift will support a new addition and renovation of the Breslin Center and provide funding to enhance counseling and support services offered through the MSU’s Detroit Scholars Program to ensure a high level of retention and improve the chances of success for students from Detroit.
MSU program makes Detroit new kind of classroom
This summer 60 Michigan State University students and faculty lived, worked, played and learned in Detroit as part of DETxMSU. The pilot program immersed students from six colleges throughout the city where they were partnered with stakeholders to work on projects ranging from entrepreneurship and business to urban design to media production.
“Our goal here was to build early partnerships as opposed to saying, ‘We’re from MSU and here to help,’ we asked, ‘What do you need? How we can help?’ These are the kind of conversations we had for months prior to when we started ... so the work the students are doing has a lasting impact.” - Joshua Sapotichne, MSU assistant professor in political science.
Setting youth up for success
Twenty-seven Spartan students spent two Saturdays, June 18 and June 25, at the Brenda Scott Academy in Detroit volunteering for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, which provides summer job training for Detroit youth. Nearly 600 Detroit students participated in workshops covering goal setting, customer service skills and interpersonal skills. MSU students helped with registration and check-in, distribution of lunch and the facilitation of the workshops.
Partnership of education, experience and revitalization
The best and brightest of MSU’s Landscape Architecture program are participating in DETxMSU this summer to learn about Detroit’s sense of place, transforming the intangibles into an urban design. Training the minds of tomorrow’s urban designers requires real-world and active learning experiences to see the city, hear the people and touch the architecture.
Pioneering Urban Food Systems
A new facility in Detroit will become Michigan State University’s first center for studying and developing urban food systems. Drawing on experience from MSU’s 13 rural AgBioResearch field stations and MSU Extension work in every county of Michigan, the MSU/Detroit Center for Urban Food Systems will facilitate best practices for food and non-food plant production and a variety of related community support activities.
Preparing for all of the tomorrows of its next 300 years
Michigan State University and partner universities support Detroit’s resurgence with hundreds of millions of dollars annually in research, education and outreach services, a new study finds. The University Research Corridor, comprised of MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, added $958 million in economic activity into the city in 2015.
Cultivating a movement
Spartan alumnus Anthony Hatinger has joined the movement to empower opportunity within Detroit communities. As the garden production manager for faith-based nonprofit Central Detroit Christian, Hatinger works with communities by pairing agricultural education and employment opportunities with economic development efforts to reinvigorate local neighborhoods.
Providing dependable transportation
Many Detroit school buses serve only younger kids, leaving high schoolers on their own or on city buses, which struggle to run on schedule. Meanwhile, the city’s population is spread wide, and many parents are wary of letting their kids walk through blighted neighborhoods. MSU alumnus Daniel Brooks is leading the charge to fill the city’s transit gaps by providing free, safe, and dependable bus rides for students.
Partnering for justice
An MSU and Detroit interdisciplinary partnership resolved backlogs of untested rape kits and became a catalyst for change and a model for communities across the nation.
MSU’s Rebecca Campbell was the principal investigator of the initiative, which started in 2011 and was funded by the National Institute of Justice, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.
With a goal of finding solutions for testing rape kits and notifying victims, the project brought together representatives from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the Detroit and Michigan State Police departments, MSU, the nursing field, and victim advocacy groups.
Making music in the city
Faculty and staff from MSU’s Community Music School-Detroit are helping ensure that music education and its benefits are not only available, but also accessible, to Detroit residents of all ages, especially youths.
The MSU Community Music School-Detroit hosted the inaugural Girls Rock Detroit summer music camp, a weeklong experience for girls and female-identifying youths at the MSU Detroit Center. Campers received instrumental instruction, formed bands, and wrote and performed their own original songs.
Studying urban development
Detroit is one of the seven metro areas that are part of the Michigan Walkable Urban Places study led by MSU’s Land Policy Institute.
Promoting Detroit’s arts legacy
Spartans are at work advancing the city’s treasured cultural institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art–Detroit.
Leading Detroit high school journalism program
When the Detroit Free Press was looking for a partner to take over management of its High School Journalism Program, it found MSU’s School of Journalism ready to help a program that for nearly three decades has given aspiring journalists from Detroit Public High Schools their first taste of what it’s like to work in the news business. To prepare for journalism in the digital world, they launched Detroit Dialogue, the program’s first digital publication.
Mentoring young men
MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities assistant professor Austin Jackson works with My Brother’s Keeper, a mentor program for at-risk black males attending Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy in Detroit.
Exploring Detroit's culture of creativity
“Cultures of Creativity in Detroit” is a freshman seminar that explores how professionals with backgrounds in design, art, culture, and engineering work together on creative projects. The seminar explores cultures of creativity in Detroit through a multi-day, immersive residential experience in the city.
Engineering a semester in Detroit
The MSU College of Engineering offers undergraduates the opportunity to spend a semester in Detroit while helping them narrow their career interests through a co-op, internship, or summer job.
Creating a scholarship fund for fellow Detroit students
Sherronia Dorsey-Walker, whose academic career at Michigan State was helped by a $54,000 scholarship gift from basketball great and fellow Detroit Pershing High School graduate Steve Smith, was inspired to start a scholarship fund as a way to give back to her community and to other hardworking students who will attend Michigan State in the fall.
Introducing students to the wonders of the Great Lakes
Now in its 25th year, MSU Extension’s Great Lakes Education Program has introduced more than 92,000 students, teachers, and adult chaperones to the unique features of the Great Lakes and helped participants understand their role in protecting these vital resources.
Supporting student success through athletics and service
Racquet Up Detroit uses the sport of squash in combination with academic and service activities to help students achieve success in their lives. Scholars and future teachers from the MSU College of Education collaborate with Racquet Up to support and develop new literacy-based programs for participating youth.