Since most of the work that the MSU Community Liaison’s office does is behind the scenes and reacting to town-gown challenges, we figured that it would be wise to dedicate the occasional blog to shine a spotlight on some of the positive town-gown relationships that are occurring in our community and in connection with our office. Thus, this is the first of a new series of “community connection spotlight” blogs.
For over fifteen years, East Lansing’s Community Relations Coalition (CRC) has been an invaluable partner for MSU, helping to promote positive University-Community relations in the neighborhoods that are adjacent to campus. The work of the CRC is guided by a simple, yet powerful mantra - “we live all here”. As evidenced in this slogan, the mission of the CRC is to promote diversity and harmony among the many student and permanent residents that make up East Lansing’s unique community. As an entity, the CRC is comprised of a governing board (composed of key stakeholders from MSU and the EL community), volunteers, neighborhood partners & student interns. The CRC’s work includes a variety of initiatives from hosting “Taste of East Lansing” to facilitating Neighborhood Clean-ups.
Several times each semester, the CRC hosts Neighborhood Clean-ups after specific home football games and athletic events. These clean-ups began as a strategic response to the high amounts of trash and party litter that often cover the streets after high-attendance home games. Since student-residents often play a significant role in creating party litter, the CRC believes that it is important to offer student-residents an opportunity to also play a significant role in addressing the problem, by cleaning up the party litter. Leslie Armell, CRC Intern Coordinator, summarizes the mission of these events well, “Neighborhood clean ups are an important way for students to come together with the community of East Lansing to take pride in the place where we all live”.
Over time, these neighborhood clean-ups have grown in popularity and attendance. For example, after the MSU/U-M game, over 100 people showed up to pick up party trash in East Lansing on a Sunday morning! Conscientious MSU students joined together in a volunteer patchwork of permanent residents, city staffers, and MSU employees to ensure that East Lansing continued to look like the beautiful community that it is. In recent years, MSU student organizations, including Greeks, have also played an important role in the success of these clean-ups, highlighting them as a way their members can achieve required service hours.
These Neighborhood clean-ups have become an important opportunity to show how MSU students can be an asset to our community, while also teaching them to be good neighbors and citizens through service. So, if you are looking for volunteer service opportunities for yourself, or for your student organization, please consider joining us for the next CRC Neighborhood Clean-up this spring. You can follow the CRC on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on their important work in our community.