In today’s world, student safety is a top priority for East Lansing schools

When it comes to school safety, parent Kath Edsall rarely speaks to her children about the issue. Edsall currently has five children enrolled in East Lansing Public Schools, with three more already graduated, she leaves the responsibility of educating her kids about safety up to the schools they attend. “I don’t want to panic my children, you know I’m not going to have them paranoid and scared to death about every little boogeyman,” Edsall said. “I’m not going to panic them about weapons in school, the school is doing what they need to do at this point in time and I hope for a day when we don’t have to have lockdown drills,” Edsall said. “I think (the schools are) doing everything that we need to do right now, you know my kids say they’re practicing,” Edsall said.

Two police forces in East Lansing work together to ensure public safety

Like many college towns, East Lansing is home to two police forces: the East Lansing Police Department and the Michigan State University Police Department. With MSU’s police force focused primarily on events occurring on campus, East Lansing residents receive the majority of the attention of ELPD. “Really there’s personalities to every neighborhood, and the more that you could localize the police to be sensitive and human the less violence that would happen during an arrest,” said Robin Lee Berry, an East Lansing resident. Since both police forces have been around for a long period of time, many people don’t think much of there being two police departments in the city of East Lansing. “I don’t know what happened at the beginning of time, (Michigan State has) always had their own police department as long as I’ve been paying attention,” said East Lansing City Council Member Ruth Beier.

East Lansing, neighboring cities, partner with CATA to re-develop parts of downtowns

In downtown East Lansing, a major land redevelopment project is in the works that will affect land and street regulation. This project is known as Shaping the Avenue, and is a new initiative funded by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) that will focus on analyzing and evolving how land is used in Lansing, East Lansing, Lansing Township, and Meridian Township, particularly on Grand River Avenue and Michigan Avenue. One important aspect of this project will be the use of form-based codes that will help dictate how buildings, walkways and roads will look in the future. “(This project) will address transit-oriented development, zoning ordinances, how buildings and streets would look, and really kind of more consistently, you’ll see development more consistently be implemented along the corridor,” said Laurie Robison, the director of marketing for CATA. Robison also explained the role that CATA is playing in this project.

East Lansing’s status as a college town provides unique opportunities to its high schoolers

For many high schoolers across the nation, there’s no major university in sight for miles around. This isn’t the case for students at East Lansing High School, an institution located right down the road from Michigan State University. Because the high school is located so close to a major research university, the students there face some unique challenges. “I think because they’re in a town that has a well known, you know, internationally known university I think that a lot of the issues that come up pertaining to what’s going on at MSU definitely are under a microscope, and they rise to national attention,” said Kristen Bieda, an associate professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State. “I think that potentially that is a challenge for students in this area that, you know, it happens in East Lansing because it’s affiliated with Michigan State often become national and world news.”

East Lansing restaurants work to provide unique customer service to citizens

As a college town, East Lansing is naturally home to restaurants that serve all kinds of food and vary from carry-out to sit-down restaurants. Since a large portion of the population is college students, it’s natural for East Lansing to be home to more carry-out dining options. Larry Martin is a professor of economics at Michigan State University, he explained why the market for restaurants in the city looks the way it does. “The market supplies what people want, and I don’t think there’s a great demand for what you call nicer sit-down restaurants,” Martin said. “When you go (to sit-down restaurants in East Lansing) you often see a lot of empty tables.”

East Lansing businesses work to cater to permanent residents

It’s only natural to assume that in a college town such as East Lansing, businesses will cater primarily to students. There are also major benefits to serving the interests of permanent residents as well however, as these people often times have different interests than students. Farnoosh Khodakarami, an associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University, laid out some reasons as to why it’s important for businesses to cater to permanent residents in addition to serving students. “I think the main reason is that as a company you want to build long term relationships hopefully with your customers and the problem with the student population is that they’re in town for at most like four years, so they’re not permanent residents of the town,” Khodakarami said. “(Students are) a good group to focus on but also it’s important to sustain your base of customers and focus on the permanent residents that live in the community and they’re not just leaving after four years of education,” Khodakarami said.

East Lansing residents, students work together to ensure best living environment

It’s no secret that families who share neighborhoods with students from a major university face unique circumstances. In the city of East Lansing, permanent residents often find themselves living in close proximity with students who live lifestyles completely different from their own. Naturally, some frustration among permanent residents regarding the more raucous lifestyle of college students is to be expected. “If the partying didn’t go on as much as it does along M.A.C. (Avenue) I’m sure people would be very happy,” said Jim Levande, an East Lansing native. “After a big game weekend if you walk along M.A.C. you’re gonna find all kinds of empty beverage containers,” Levande said.

East Lansing officials eyeing MSU’s response to Nassar scandal

When a crisis of tremendous magnitude occurs, it is sure to impact people on many different levels. This has been the case with the Larry Nassar crisis, as this issue has affected far more than just those affiliated with Michigan State University. Although people will most notably associate Nassar with Michigan State University, the rest of the city of East Lansing could suffer setbacks from this tragedy as well. Shanna Draheim is an alumnus of MSU, and current East Lansing City Council member and resident, as such she has a unique perspective on the crisis. “As a city official, I’m happy to see that steps are now being taken to address some of the structural failures on the part of MSU,” Draheim said.