Michigan State University operates one of the largest single-campus residential systems in the United States. We house nearly 15,000 students in 25 residence halls and apartments complexes covering more than five million square feet.
Scaling that enterprise to the human level is a challenge.
Our students tell us they appreciate the size and the opportunities MSU provides, but they also like the small-town feel and sense of community they have living on campus. So several years ago, we started thinking about taking the extraordinary advantage of Michigan State and making it work better for 21st-century students.
We think what we call the MSU Neighborhood initiative does that by helping us support students at a pivotal, sometimes vulnerable, point in their lives.
MSU Neighborhoods began in 2010–11 with the opening of the Hubbard Hall Engagement Center, the hub of activity for MSU’s East Neighborhood of Holmes, Akers and Hubbard halls. This year the initiative moved to the west and south sides of campus, setting up shop in the newly remodeled Brody Hall and Holden Hall, respectively.
MSU Neighborhoods focuses on intercultural development, academic support, residential support, and health and wellness. The hub of a neighborhood is the engagement center, where students can tap support resources—from academic to social to health—in one central location. It is here that students gather not only to socialize, but to study, get academic assistance, or even see a health care provider.
The initiative is planned to eventually encompass the entire campus, when MSU will offer five unique undergraduate neighborhoods along with Spartan Village.
It’s also about encouraging people from all over the world to interact with one another where they live in order to learn about one another and, in the process, about themselves.
MSU has a rich history of providing quality living-learning experiences for students, with many opportunities for a “smaller college” experience through James Madison College, Lyman Briggs College, and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities to residential programs for engineering, business, environmental studies, and Honors College undergraduates, among others.