by Annie Dubois

Over the past two years, MSU has earned a diverse set of accolades across various units, ranging from a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University designation to a Healthy Michigan Worksite award. These accolades situate MSU as a leader in innovation and demonstrate MSU’s continual efforts to create a more accessible, inclusive, and equitable university.


MSU Recognized as an Age-Friendly Campus

MSU’s efforts to create an age-friendly campus culture were highlighted by earning acceptance into the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Network, which recognizes universities that align with AFU values endorsed by the World Health Organization and Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

This recognition is exemplified by long-standing programs like Grandparents University, which encourages older adults to participate in educational and research programs with their grandchildren. MSU’s robust WorkLife office also offers various career development opportunities for older adults, and the MSU Community Music School therapy clinics provide health and cultural resources to older individuals and those with developmental disabilities.

MSU’s AgeAlive program, situated within the College of Osteopathic Medicine, further demonstrates the university’s dedication to creating an age-friendly culture on campus. AgeAlive aims to expand research, education, training, service and outreach related to aging across all MSU disciplines and units.


MSU Police Department Focuses on Mental Health

Due to an increasing pattern of mental health incidents, the MSU Police Department noticed the need for a holistic mental health approach to their response strategy. This holistic approach actualized itself as the Behavioral Threat Assessment Unit (BTAU), which aims to connect individuals in crisis to proper community resources.

 

The MSU Police Department also recently joined the One Mind Campaign, an initiative from the International Association of Chiefs of Police that provides training and technical assistance for mental health incidents. The MSU Police Department recently completed the One Mind Campaign Pledge requirements, which require 100% of officers to receive training in Mental Health First Aid and at least 30% of employees to complete a more intensive Crisis Intervention Training. The Department is one of five Michigan police agencies to complete the One Mind Campaign Pledge.

 

MSU Receives a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University Designation

MSU recently received a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University designation from the League of American Bicyclists, making MSU one of 31 universities in the U.S. that have received such a designation and the only higher education institution to be awarded Gold status in Michigan. 

This award highlights the bike-friendly improvements evident on MSU’s campus, such as the 1.2 miles of bike lanes on Wilson Road, the addition of permanent bicyclist counting equipment at all campus intersections, and the installation of state-of-the-art bike racks at campus buildings.

MSU’s bike-friendly attributes extend beyond equipment and technology. MSU Mobility, a community of 40 researchers engaged in interdisciplinary research on mobility and sustainable transportation, also bolsters the bike-friendly environment on campus. MSU also organized and hosted the Bike Friendly America Conference in 2016, the first of its kind in the U.S.

 

MSU is a First-Generation Forward University

As a designated First-Generation Forward University, MSU is one of 11 large public research universities working to increase graduation rates for low-income, minority, and first-generation students as part of the University Innovation Alliance. With programs like the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative and the TRIO Student Support Services, MSU situates itself as a pioneer in first-generation college student support, and a member of the Center for First-generation Student Success’s First-Gen Forward Cohort.

The MSU TRIO Student Support Services supports first-generation college students, students with certain income criteria, and students with documented disabilities by offering academic tutoring, mentoring, and financial guidance to improve academic success. By assigning each student in the program with a peer and professional mentor, MSU TRIO Student Support Services is dedicated to building academic skills, helping students navigate the university experience, and supporting personal growth. 

The Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative serves as a central unit for undergraduate student empowerment by focusing on academic achievement and institutional navigation. The Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative provides support for students to navigate institutional policy, procedure, and practices, and strives to close opportunity gaps for first-generation, low-income, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students by developing support networks.

The opportunities provided by the First-Gen Forward Cohort promise to have a profound impact on the 28% of first-generation students in the MSU student body by elevating initiatives like summer Bridge programs, first-year seminars, and mentorship programs.

 

MSU Earns Healthy Michigan Worksite Award

MSU received an honorable mention from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) 2020 Healthy Michigan Worksite Award. This award recognizes employers who are utilizing the Designing Healthy Environments at Work tools, which were developed by MDHHS to improve worksite infrastructure to support health, physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco-free lifestyles.

In 2018 and 2019, MSU Extension utilized the Designing Healthy Environments at Work training tools to distribute annual needs and interests surveys to 600 MSU Extension staff. Analyzing the responses of this survey informed the creation of programs, policies, goals, and objectives for MSU Extension. The work by MSU Extension demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the culture of health within the workplace by focusing on the work environment along with organizational practices and policies, earning MSU an honorable mention from the MDHHS Healthy Michigan Worksite Award.