Community outreach and engagement are key to Michigan State University’s legacy as a prototype for the nation’s system of land-grant colleges, a system that celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2012.
This year, Michigan State is partnering with supermarket chain Meijer through its Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources to promote Michigan products. The Made in Michigan initiative brings 49 new grocery items—including marinara sauce, blueberry butter, gluten free baking mixes, and gourmet seasoning—into 33 Meijer stores, joining dozens of other Michigan products carried there, including locally grown produce.
Working with clients since 2004, the Product Center has helped create approximately 750 new jobs and retain an additional 365. It has achieved these impressive numbers by sticking to its mission of empowering clients to be entrepreneurial; assisting client partners to become more competitive and profitable; and creating innovative products, new jobs, and expanded incomes in the agriculture, food, and natural resource sectors.
The Product Center’s work resulted in increasing its clients’ annual sales to $309.7 million and an increased investment of $228.9 million.
Michigan State also is playing a pivotal role in Michigan’s development of a growing wine industry. Today, Michigan is ranked as the nation’s fourth-largest grape producer with a burgeoning industry of wine-grape growers and vineyards. With assistance from MSU, the state’s wine industry has seen wine-grape growth increase by 500 percent since 1973 and now comprises 14,600 acres of vineyards, 2,000 of which are dedicated to wine.
The state has grown its winery count in that period from fewer than 10 to 86, producing more than one million gallons of wine each year and hosting 800,000 visitors annually—contributing $300 million to Michigan’s economy.
MSU’s engagement isn’t limited to promoting Michigan’s $71 billion agrifood industry. Faculty are working with police authorities in Detroit to determine why more than 10,000 sexual assault kits spanning two decades went untested and to develop practices to prevent the problem in the future.
The College of College of Osteopathic Medicine is taking steps to address the needs of older adults in Michigan and at the same time lower health care costs. With funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the college is working to establish a statewide Division of Geriatric Medicine, creating a network of osteopathic geriatric fellowships in Michigan. The fellowships will allow doctors to undergo specialized training after their residencies, with an aim to build a multidisciplinary model of care through community-based education, training, and research.
The ways to connect with MSU are virtually unlimited. From collaborative research to transferable technology to our vast Spartan alumni network, our partnerships make a real difference. Every day, Michigan State University’s network of faculty experts, researchers, scientists, and specialists goes to work not only on campus but also in communities across the state and around the world. We work side by side with small businesses and corporations, hospitals and schools, individuals, counties, and countries to improve quality of life near and far.