MiSchool MSU & MiMSU Navigation
MSU needs to do more to attract and retain underserved students; the 22% of non-white students on campus is not nearly sufficient to call MSU’s efforts significant. We must aim to improve upon this if we plan to call MSU a truly inclusive place, and I believe that in order to tackle it, we must approach it from multiple angles.
First, I would place greater emphasis on geographically-targeted recruitment and outreach programs. Similar to my MiTown MSU program, I would engage alumni from local communities in partnership with university staff to help provide a localized impact of the recruitment. This requirement would be on-going and active.
Additionally, I would directly work with the MSU Alumni Association to create a scholarship program targeted towards improving diversity by breaking down any and all financial barriers. We know that many students don’t attend MSU because they don’t think they can afford it, don’t think they will fit in, or are nervous about attending. Due to the structure of the Alumni Association, fewer barriers are placed on them like those placed on the university directly, and thus I believe that they make a great partner in this work.
Further, I would create a program called MiSchool MSU to begin working with students much earlier in their K-12 career to help ensure they are academically and emotionally prepared to apply and be accepted to Michigan State. MiSchool MSU would primarily take place at prospective students’ own middle and high schools, but also include trips to campus to gain firsthand experiences prior to ever starting an undergraduate application.
Finally, once students are accepted through the Go Green Guarantee or MiTown MSU, I would create a system of support structures on campus to ensure they meet their goal of degree completion. A MiMSU Navigator would be a mentor that meets with each student and their professors on-campus, helps them navigate the complex, challenging and often distracting world of college, and makes sure they get all of the help they need. We know that there are many underserved students who make it to campus but don’t complete their degree, leaving them with lots of debt and little way to pay it off, and since we can identify this problem, we must create solutions to solve it.