MSU was established in 1855 as a land-grant agricultural institution, originally called the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. As the first of its kind, MSU served as a model for other land-grant institutions developed under the Morrill Act of 1862, which incidentally is the name of one of the oldest buildings on campus.
In 1870, the college began to admit women, who took the same rigorous scientific agriculture courses as male students. In 1950, the school joined the Big Ten Conference after the University of Chicago ceased offering varsity football. Evolving through several name changes, he school became the Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science in 1955. In 1964, the school began to go by its current name, Michigan State University.
Since then, the university has become a much more diverse place, with the expansion of the school by the creation of several more colleges, beyond agriculture. Today, MSU has the eighth largest student body in the country, with more than 36,000 undergraduates and close to 10,000 graduate students on campus.
Michigan State is made up of more than 650 buildings on 2,000 developed acres and is perched on the banks of the Red Cedar River, a tributary of Michigan’s Grand River. The oldest part of campus lies on the north bank of the Red Cedar River and is known as the North Campus. This area features architecture in the Gothic style, including Cowles House, the president’s official residence. The MSU Union and Main Library are also located on the North campus area.
The campus south of the river is made up of mostly post-World War II buildings with fewer trees than the north side and numerous parking lots. The Spartan Stadium is directly south of the Mani Library and the Breslin Student Events Center is directly west of the stadium and Munn Ice Arena. Housing for students flank both the eastern and western ends of the main campus’ perimeter, making the walk to class more than a simple hop and a skip.
Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, which is just east of Lansing, the state’s capital. Grand River Avenue, at the center of the city’s downtown area, also runs along the northern perimeter of the campus and businesses there are very college-oriented – bars, bookstores, restaurants, coffee shops, and much more are available. More than half of East Lansing’s residents are students.
Also pretty close by is Lansing, Michigan’s capital and a driving political force, and many students get involved in protests and other political events or causes at the state capitol building. Lansing also provides more access to things to do, such as bars, restaurants, baseball games (Lansing Lugnuts Thursdays are a favorite!), and museums.
During game season band members take turns guarding the statue of their mascot, “Sparty” and have even formed honorary fraternities and sororities around the cause. In 1998, 14 U-Michigan students were arrested after attacking the statue with paintball guns.
Started in the ‘70s, Cedar Fest was originally a semiannual party that occurred in October and May in Cedar Village, a densely populated student neighborhood at MSU. The event was banned by the police in 1987 after riots broke out during the parties. The event saw a revival in spring 2008 however the police came and broke up the festivities declaring it a case of unlawful assembly.
Spencer Abraham (1974) is a former US senator from Michigan and also served as secretary of energy under President George W. Bush.
Morten Anderson (1982) is all-time leading scorer in the NFL and a former placekicker for the New Orleans Saints.
Eli Broad (1954) is an influential philanthropist and Fortune 500 leader.
Plaxico Burress (2000) is a wide receiver for the New York Giants.
Don Gonyea (1978) is a Whitehouse correspondent for NPR News.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson played for the Los Angeles Lakers and is a Basketball Hall Fame inductee.
Debbie Stabenow (1972) is a US Senator from Michigan and became the first female senator from Michigan when elected in 2000.
Michigan State competes in the NCAA Division I-A Big Ten Conference. Football, basketball and ice hockey are all extremely popular.
The most popular groups on campus are definitely connected with sports and MSU’s fierce school pride for the Spartans. Football games dominate the fall semester, with tailgates covering the entire campus with tents, open-ended vans, coolers, George Forman grills, and fans sporting Spartans green and white. The students are also not the only fans, with families and alumni joining in and showing their support as well.
Basketball games are also extremely popular for students to watch and participate in. The student IZZONE section, named for the head coach Tom Izzo, serves as a true symbol of MSU’s die-hard loyalty. This section dominates a large portion of the Breslin Center (where the basketball games are held) and creates an exciting and vibrant atmosphere for all the players and fans (while hopefully working to intimidate competitors)! Ice hockey is another popular sport on campus, and its 2006-2007 season ended in its third win of the NCAA hockey championship.”
There are a variety of men’s and women’s varsity sports that are quite successful, as well as intramural sports for other students to get involved in.
MSU gained entry to the Big Ten in 1950 after the University of Chicago eliminated varsity football and withdrew from the league in 1946.
MSU was the first US institution of higher learning to teach scientific agriculture.
Stanley Kubrick used recorded Spartan Stadium crowd noise in his 1960 epic, Spartacus.
On October 6, 2001 MSU’s men’s hockey team played the University of Michigan in a game dubbed the “Cold War” which ended in a 3-3 tie. The game drew a record-setting crowd of 74, 544.
Two scenes from the film American Pie were filmed at MSU.
At Michigan State, all freshmen are required to live on campus unless they are living with a parent within a 50-mile radius, and the residence halls are popular with returning students as well. MSU’s 23 undergraduate residence halls are divided into five zones – East, South, Red Cedar, Brody, and West Circle – and more than 15,000 students make their homes here every year. Some of the residences feature the option of “quiet” floors, where noise must be kept to a minimum earlier than in other locations.
West Circle Zone has community-style bathrooms. Grounds are dotted with trees as well as fountains. Some say it is like living in a mansion. Residence halls within this zone are as follows.
Mayo is home to 200 residents as well as the business office for the complex, and one quiet men’s floor.
Campbell houses about 300 residents, has a quiet co-ed floor and South Campbell is smoke-free.
Landon houses about 300 residents, features the Creation Stations dining option which is cooked to order, and is home to Totally Takeout Express for students short on time.
Yakeley-Gilchrist has 500 residents. There are three quiet floors and one alcohol-free floor in Yakeley, which is all female. Gilchrist and East Yakeley are smoke-free.
Williams’ housing contracts are room-only with the option of purchasing a meal plan. There are kitchens on each floor should you choose to cook for yourself. Rooms are also equipped with refrigerators and there are two quiet female floors.
Red Cedar Zone is close to the center of campus, and shops and restaurants are also nearby. This area is about a 10-15 minute walk to the bookstore and most academic buildings. Halls here have community-style bathrooms. Residences within this zone are as follows.
Mason/Abbot houses Honors College students who share similar interests and goals. There is one quiet female floor and those who live here dine in the Gallery at Snyder/Phillips.
Snyder/Phillips contains the Gallery dining hall, which features “all-you-care-to-eat” and a la carte service. It also houses an Honors College and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH), which provides a unique residential experience for students interested in literature, history, ethics, and the visual and performing arts. Snyder and Phillips are smoke-free and have rooms with disability access. Snyder/Phillips also features an art studio, music practice rooms, a language proficiency center, and a gallery to showcase student and visiting artist work.
Shaw is popular among continuing students and is in the heart of campus. There is limited availability for freshmen here, and rooms can accommodate up to four students. East Shaw is smoke-free and there is a quiet co-ed floor.
East Zone has the following residence halls.
Akers/Hubbard features a spacious courtyard with plenty of opportunities to pick up a game of basketball or volleyball. Akers is unique in that there are two bedrooms, a living/studying area and a bathroom shared by only the occupants in the unit. This zone has the Charles Drew Science Enrichment Laboratory. Hubbard contains the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment, which brings together students who share an interest in environmental studies.
Holmes is designed for students pursuing broad, science-based fields. Classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices can be found here. Honors College students also live here. Also available are music practice rooms, a fitness center with weight room, Sparty’s Retail Store, recreational area, sand volleyball court, and basketball half court.
McDonel has “La Casa,” a Spanish immersion floor, and offers six smoke-free floors, six coed by suite, and two quiet floors. This hall also features the International Language and Culture Residence, designed for American students who would like to get to know another culture.
Owen-Van Hoosen Complex has Owen Hall for graduate and professional students and Van Hoosen Hall which is all-female sophomores and above with a minimum 2.2 GPA requirement.
South Zone is close to the intramural fields and the Breslin Student Events Center. Residence halls here are as follows.
Case has James Madison College for students pursuing interdisciplinary programs in the social sciences, plus a library and study lounges.
Wonders is on the south side of campus near the Breslin Student Events Center.
Holden hosts MSU’s student radio station, Impact 89 FM, the Asian/Pacific Heritage Room, an MSU community police office, and the English Language Tutorial room. Holden also houses the Academic Scholars Program, and the College Assistance Migrant Program, an educational program that offers those with migrant or seasonal farm backgrounds an opportunity to begin an undergraduate education.
Wilson is home to the South Complex business office and has a Computer lab in the basement.
Brody Zone is near the Red Cedar River and Red Cedar Municipal Golf Course. Buildings here surround a park-like center with sand volleyball and basketball courts, plus space to enjoy the scenery. This zone is said to have the largest student rooms on campus.
Armstrong is entirely smoke-free.
Bailey has the Residential Option for Science and Engineering Students, for freshmen in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Engineering and Natural Science.
Bryan is an entirely quiet hall with an Honors College floor.
Butterfield features in-window air conditioners.
Emmons is entirely smoke-free.
Rather is alcohol-free for residents as well as guests.