The 24th Annual Michigan Solar Home Tour goes virtual amidst pandemic

The 2020 Michigan Solar Home tour hosted by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association took place Saturday, October 3, over Zoom instead of the traditional walkthrough home tour. The annual event is in its 24th year.  

In previous years, people would showcase their home or businesses’ solar systems throughout Michigan. Due to the virtual nature of the event, guests were able to see every solar system. The tour, which went from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowed guests to understand how solar energy can reduce your monthly energy bill while promoting a clean environment. A typical “tour” used Zoom’s screen-sharing tool in which speakers showed pictures and statistics of their solar systems.

Twelve people showcased their solar system, including MSU Professor David Arnosti.

Students react to MSU canceling in-person classes for fall

Students respond to MSU canceling in-person classes less than two weeks before classes start and undergraduates move on-campus. Jay Gooden wants better communication from Michigan State University and its staff when informing students of changes due to COVID-19. Gooden, 22, Spartan Remix co-director at Michigan State University, said he is worried about his lack of drive, lack of being able to be social and most of all, not receiving the full experience of acting with in-person class. MSU planned on resuming in-person classes for undergraduates when the semester starts Sept. 2 but reversed their decision Tuesday and moved most classes entirely online.

How will Michigan State’s student organizations look in the fall?

Rebecca Mizell admits this year is going to be something new for Michigan State University’s Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). “It’s not going to look like years past.”

Rebecca Mizell, business manager of Michigan State’s RSOs, said this in reference Sparticipation in Fall 2020. Michigan State had over 900 RSOs in 2019 and, just as the rest of the world, there will be adjustment needed for the fall for close to all of them. Sparticipation is an event in which RSOs set up a booth or tent so students have a chance to become a member. Mizell said the event “brings out, historically, about 15,000 students.”


Coverage of Sparticipation 2019, courtesy of The State News

But, because of social distancing guidelines and the risk COVID-19 poses, Mizell said the event will run differently this year.

Tattoo shops ready for fall rush of students

It’s been three months since Ink and Needles West has opened its doors to the public after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted the Stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Ink and Needle west tattoo shop practicing social distancing throughout its shop to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Amber Watson, 23, a student at Michigan State University, said “I was really excited that Ink and Needles were opening up after being closed during COVID-19, three months is a long time to get a new tattoo.”

Ink and Needless tattoo shop closed on March 22 and was allowed to open their business on June 15. The state requires tattoo shops to have guidelines to reopen and to service customers including; wearing gloves, everyone being serviced have on a mask, social distancing of 6ft apart or more and cleaning the stations after every use. Moya Maffett, artist at Ink & Needles West and East in Lansing said, “It’s nice to get back in the groove of things, because we get to meet people and interact with them and see why they get the tattoos they get.”

She said, “we’ve marked everywhere six feet proximity so that clients can social distance, we have been using shields or face masks when we tattoo and speak to our clients to make sure everyone is safe.

Michigan State University spreads sexual assault awareness across campus

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this nationally recognized campaign is attempting to educate the nation on sexual violence, increase public awareness and prevent these acts from occurring across the United States, including college campuses such as Michigan State University. One way that Michigan State has been spreading awareness is by hosting a large variety of events. Some of the past events included a 5k, yoga sessions, coffee hours and a special day to wear teal: the color of sexual assault awareness and prevention. 

In addition to these events in East Lansing, on Tuesday, April 16, the MSU museum opened an exhibit called Finding our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak. The exhibit commemorates the sexual assault survivors of former Michigan State osteopathic physician Larry Nassar and draws attention to the pain that he has caused these women, while also creating a sense of hope and healing for the survivors. 

A piece of art with the aim to create this sense of hope is a butterfly dress created by Nassar survivor Alexandra Bourque. The dress is created out of over 300 tie-dye butterflies of bright and vibrant colors, spread out as if they are flying to become part of the dress. 

Bourque, 28, said the dress started off as a display for her store, Brightlytwisted, in Corktown, Detroit.

Women’s Center builds program to help women enter skilled trades

The Women’s Center of Greater Lansing is helping area women build careers in the skilled trades, one concrete slab and brick at a time. The center graduated its first class of six students in July from the new Women in Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Readiness Program. It’s among several programs at the center designed to help women re-enter the workforce.

Restaurants feel loss when internationals students leave

Every summer Ginny Cheung makes the decision to close her East Lansing Chinese restaurant for a few weeks to travel. With her largely Asian college student customer base on summer break, it didn’t make financial sense to keep the doors open. But this summer, East Café located at 1001 E. Grand River Ave. didn’t close its doors. “There are still a few students staying for the summer,” she said.