Shaping the Neighborhoods
In fall 2010, Michigan State University introduced a new concept to campus: Neighborhoods at MSU. These aren’t just a cluster of residence halls; they are the students in those residence halls discovering and creating their own communities in a setting that provides innovative, integrated support services where they live. Neighborhoods are founded on four pillars: residential support, academic success, intercultural engagement, and health and wellness. Each neighborhood will house an engagement center with everything from math tutoring and Writing Center services to career planning assistance. These neighborhood resources facilitate students’ transition to MSU, helping them succeed on campus and beyond.
“Neighborhoods are making this very large university smaller,” said Vennie Gore, assistant vice president for the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services. “We’re taking the many resources of MSU a step further by bringing them to students where they live, and engaging with those students to help them navigate their time on campus.”
The East Neighborhood Engagement Center opened as part of the Hubbard Pilot Program, marking the start of Neighborhoods at MSU. After a full academic year, information on the engagement center’s operation is being collected and preliminary results point to increased student engagement. For example, the center’s Undergraduate University Division assisted 536 students in fall 2010 and its Olin Health Center services area received 778 student visits in spring 2011.
New engagement centers will open in fall 2011 at Brody and Holden halls, and a diverse group of university team members are currently helping them take shape. A Neighborhood Implementation Committee (NIC) is working to further develop the neighborhood model, including space allocation, staffing patterns and training programs.
As in any city, every MSU neighborhood will vary based on the needs of its student population. And as in cities, students are encouraged to explore other neighborhoods as they develop their Spartan worldview.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “It takes Team MSU to make anyone coming here as a student to leave as the citizen scholar they envision society needing for a brighter future. That village is Team MSU and it is represented by the neighborhoods.”
Along with the two new engagement centers opening this fall, a neighborhood leader and new engagement center directors will be named in late summer. Watch our video to learn more about Neighborhoods at MSU and visit www.neighborhoods.msu.edu.