The State – 09/21/22

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting a mostly cloudy day with a small shower or thunderstorm possibly with a high of 83 degrees and a low of 51 degrees.

Staffing shortages in MSU dining halls results in use of disposables, student frustration

Since the start of the new academic year, students have been disappointed by MSU’s dining halls, many of which have been offering exclusively disposable plates, bowls, cutlery and cups.

MSU has been transitioning some dining halls to reusable plates and silverware, most notably the Brody Commons. But, MSU Culinary Services could not tell The State News exactly where reusables were being used, because it varies day-to-day based on staffing.

According to MSU culinary services, exclusive use of reusables would be ideal, but labor shortages have stopped them from fully transitioning.

Culinary services spokesperson Cheryl Berry said that many of the dish-washing positions were filled by students, who have not come back to dining hall work after the pandemic.

To fill the 1,000 student staffing gap by October, Berry hopes MSU’s job portal will attract students to apply.

MSU Residential and Housing Services and Culinary Services could not confirm if it would be more expensive for MSU to employ the necessary staff in all the dish-rooms or continue providing disposables.

Beyond the overall waste of the disposables, students take issue with the specifics of their dining halls’ offerings, especially the packets of plastic silverware. For cutlery, all dining halls currently use plastic packets which each contain a fork, knife, spork, napkin and packets of salt pepper.

James Madison College freshman Hanna Alexander said that she never uses all of the plastic cutlery provided in the package, and they end up getting thrown away.

In an email, Berry said that the cutlery packets are a cost saving measure for the university, as they were purchased in great quantities during COVID-19.

Starting this past Monday, MSU offers a reusable container option for the mobile-ordering grab-and-go options available at Holden and Holmes dining halls.

In an email to the MSU student body, culinary services advertised the program, writing, “your daily actions, small as they may seem, can have an ongoing impact on our sustainability efforts across campus!”

Of Virtue band: Lansing locals turned rising stars

Of Virtue prides themselves in bringing a new definition to the term “homegrown.” The band came to life in Lansing and has been working hard to share their music with as much of the world as they possibly can.

Damon Tate, the band’s lead guitarist, found guitarist Michael Valadez on MySpace. The rest is essentially history — as their popularity grew, they were picked up by FM Music Management.

Since getting picked up by the label, they’ve been on what they describe as an “upward trajectory.” The band has released three albums and two EPs while simultaneously performing live shows and trying to grow their name. And grow, they did; first performing locally in Lansing, then regionally and finally, nationally.

Now, the band has performed their music in over 25 countries.

The band came together by chance with a dream and a shared taste in music. Through years of trial and error, they have found fans who continuously show up for them. Of Virtue said they wouldn’t give up a single opportunity they have been afforded for anything.

Tate has advice for other rising musical artists: “Be a sponge.”

“Practice all of it,” Tate said. “All the artists that are the ones that you know consistently over time, they’re going to come out with hits. They’re going to have relevancy and they know how to reinvent themselves.”

Bleeding green and white: Black MSU alumnus and daughter achieve success

After attending eight elementary schools, three high schools and moving in with various relatives, MSU alumnus Rayshawn Holbrook had a turbulent childhood.

After qualifying for the Tuition Incentive Program — a program that helps underserved communities by encouraging families to send their children to colleges within the state — the choice to study at MSU wasn’t a difficult decision for Rayshawn.

By his junior year, Rayshawn was a student parent to six children. In 2004, his daughter Shawnie Holbrook was born. She is now a kinesiology freshman on full scholarship at MSU.

“It was definitely a no-brainer for sure,” Shawnie said. “My dad is the reason I’m here. If my dad didn’t show me what this school was about, I would’ve never been here.”

As Rayshawn frequently brought his kids to MSU’s women’s basketball and volleyball games, Shawnie was inspired by the women’s empowerment in sports games and chose to study kinesiology here.

Going through the hardships as a Black student parent, Rayshawn hopes that he and Shawnie can give others the courage to challenge themselves in leading their life how they want.

Now recently accepted a position as a senior software engineer at Apple, Rayshawn encourages other students to build their network at MSU and “find your village.”

“Obviously it’s a big deal for anyone to go to college, but as a Black student at Michigan State that’s like a huge thing,” Shawnie Holbrook said. “All Black students should feel accomplished just being here — just because of the things we go through and the past that MSU has — this is a huge milestone for us to be on this campus and make a difference.”

Based on original reporting by Alex Walters, Maddie Dallas, and Ashley Zhou.