Amid racial tensions, black students find refuge in religious groups

Q&A: Student organization doubles as a safe haven for minority students at MSU

The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of the outpouring of grief and frustration following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 – a young, unarmed black man who was shot while walking in a gated neighborhood – and the subsequent acquittal of the man who killed him. In the five years since Martin’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum, driven by the killings of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and other black people at the hands of the police. The movement has grown into an international network of more than 30 chapters. College campuses across the country have used various platforms to respond to and/or participate in efforts led by Black Lives Matter. At Michigan State University, a student-run Christian organization encourages students to use religious faith as a tool to combat racial tension.

Does makeup have diversity?

EAST LANSING, Michigan — For years, men and women have struggled with the idea of finding the right shade of beauty for their skin and having it fit to their complexion and skin type.  

There has always been a debate between drugstore makeup companies like Maybelline and Covergirl compared to high-brand cosmetic companies like Urban Decay and Rihanna’s new line “Fenty Beauty.”

Christopher George, who works at Sephora in Lansing and is responsible for matching customers to the right type of makeup for their skin type, said, “Many people have said that the difference between drugstore and Sephora is the quality. Though that may be true, it’s probably just based on their skin type.”

Skin type is different for every person. One can be oily and one can be dry. No one has the same skin type — just like no one has the same skin color.

Talking with Teachers, Episode 2. Guest: MSU Instructor David Watson

On the second episode of “Talking with Teachers,” I am joined by another Michigan State University employee, College of Arts and Letters faculty member, Dave Watson. Not only does Watson teach at Michigan State, he also has classes at Jackson College and is in a program known as the PEI (Prison Education Initiative), where he teaches inmates at Cooper St. Correctional Facility in Jackson. In the interview Watson talks about how he got into teaching, what his courses can offer and what it’s like teaching in a prison.

Coach Steve Finamore, from Brooklyn to East Lansing High School

Finamore’s road to coaching has been long and a bit different than most coaches’ paths. The Brooklyn, New York native came to Michigan in 1996 and ironically served on Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State from 1999-2001.

Since then he’s coached at Jackson Community College, St. Peter’s University in New Jersey and has worked one-on-one with numerous college and professional players from all over Michigan.

Religion in America: Chinese students’ perspectives and experiences

A missing religious identity

For the first 16 years of Jiahe Hui’s life growing up in Beijing, religion never crossed his path until he began his studies in America. Hui is one of over 300,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S., and first felt pressure to put a label on his beliefs after beginning his schooling at a Catholic High School in Philadelphia. “I read the Bible from the first page to the last, and it didn’t make any sense to me,” Hui said. I then went on to read the Quran and I got the same feeling. After that, I just kind of started to become atheist.”

Douglas Sjoquist, a visiting professor in MSU’s Department of Religious Studies, said atheism is the norm in China.

Jewish students juggle academics during the High Holidays

Fall on Michigan State’s campus brings the enthusiasm of a new semester, Spartan football tailgates and, for about 3,500 Jewish undergrads, the celebration of the High Holy Days that overlap academics and social events. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins the “10 days of repentance,” ending with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Both holidays typically fall in the months of September or October. For 2017, Rosh Hashanah began at sundown on Sept. 20 until Sept.

Photo by Alexa Seeger

Pioneering place- and project-based learning

The lights from the Mackinac bridge winked through the haze. The drizzle coursed down the students’ plastic ponchos as they walked Lake Michigan’s shore with one of their teachers, Charlotte Hagerman. Hagerman showed a group how to skip stones, since many had never done so before.

“Then this little guy, now he was a tough kid,” Hagerman said. “He comes up to me, ‘Ms. Hagerman, Ms. Hagerman,’ and he holds a shell up. And he says, ‘my first shell.’”

In order to build community and reach students at multiple grade and ability levels, Hagerman and Bobo looked to supplement lecture style teaching. After attending conferences and a chance meeting with another teacher pioneering place-based learning in Frankfort, the two teachers implemented project-based and place-based learning in their classroom.

MSU student leaders combat declines of religiosity

Sprinkled throughout the first two rows of sand-colored seating in Conrad Hall, the Michigan State University Gospel Choir rehearsed its rendition of Kirk Franklin’s “Brighter Day.” The five-minute song was practiced in complete A capella, with some members swaying to instrumentals they played in their heads and others using their hands to mimic the song’s thunderous beat. In harmony, the choir bellowed the chorus, sounding much louder than its size. The second largest religious or non-religious group in the U.S. is non-religious. Close to one in four Americans consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. At MSU, the size of its Gospel Choir, a Christian organization founded in 1971 reflects the  trend of decreased religious participation.