Ever since I left MSU’s beautiful campus a few days after my graduation on April 30th, 2004, I’ve longed to give back to my fellow Spartans. My years at Michigan State were among the best of my life, and that is due to the wonderful opportunities I had as an undergrad. Not only did I heavily participate in study abroad and alternative spring break programs, I later worked as a peer advisor in the Office of Study Abroad, now Office of Education Abroad.
Through the umbrella Multicultural Business Programs (MBP) organization, I became an active member of Multicultural Business Students (MBS), eventually serving as publicity chair on the executive board, and the Women in Business Association. In fact, my connections to MBP goes back even further to the summer after my junior year of high school. That summer, I attended the Broad Business Student Camp (BBSC) (created and run by MBP), and I fell in love. I fell in love with Michigan State’s campus and what I envisioned my college life could be.
BBSC wasn’t the only factor in my decision to attend MSU, but it left a powerful impression. A few years later, I served as a camp counselor for BBSC thanks to arrangements made with my employer at the time, IBM. When I arrived on campus in August 1999, eagerly pushing my parents’ out the door, I already had a home on one of the largest college campuses in the United States: MBP. This is just a snippet of some of the opportunities I took advantage of while at MSU. It is now time to give back.
Even though I wanted to give back, I am not in a position to give monetarily at the moment, nor do I think that would be the best way to do so. Fortunately, I happened to stumble across a couple of great opportunities.
The Alumni Wisdom Project
In fall 2017, as an alum of the Eli Broad College of Business, I received an email outlining the Alumni Wisdom Project. In short, the project, a component of a communications course on campus, pairs current MSU business students with Broad alumni. It is meant to be a one-time face-to-face or Skype informational interview focusing on career and experiences at MSU. Students then complete the assignment for class and share what they have written with alumni. I loved my first experience, so I signed up for another. It is exactly the type of experience I was looking for that would allow me to somehow give back to current MSU students.
Spartans Helping Spartans
I only learned of Spartans Helping Spartans a few months ago when I responded to David Isbell’s LinkedIn comment asking if there were MSU alums who were interested in reconnecting with the university. Dave Isbell works in alumni relations at MSU. I met him online several years ago when I first moved back to Michigan.
After my initial interest in reconnecting with MSU, Dave and I spoke on the phone. He described the idea behind his website Spartans Helping Spartans – alumni sharing their experiences with current MSU students in an informal podcast format. I was hooked. In our conversation, he told me that he remembered a little about my background, and I filled him in on what I am currently doing. Next thing I know, he interviewed me for the podcast and my first podcast was born. Check it out below.
There is much more to come. I am currently writing a series of blog posts highlighting study abroad for Spartans Helping Spartans. I will share them once they are on the website. In addition, I have had such positive feedback from this podcast, I am toying with the idea of creating a podcast myself. Stay tuned. All because I said yes.