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Spartan Scholars Support Local Community

Published: Monday, 13 Nov 2017
Author: The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

For the Mastercard Foundation Scholars at MSU, Lansing is their home away from home. The Scholars have a passion for giving back to their communities in Africa, and continue those practices within the Greater Lansing community.

On October 28, 2017, 40 Scholars participated in the annual Spartan Day of Service, volunteering at five different community service project locations around the Greater Lansing area. Volunteer locations included the Potter Park Zoo, Bickford Senior Living, Haven House of East Lansing, the Ingham County Land Bank, and Wexford Montessori Academy.

This year, Spartan Day of Service also coincided with the Mastercard Foundation Day of Service. Similar to MSU's tradition of Spartan community service and engagement, the Mastercard Foundation Day of Service reinforces service learning—an integral part of the Scholars program—to prepare Scholars to give back to their communities in Africa.

The Scholars' service came in various forms, ranging from yard work, to laundering, to playing games with senior residents. While volunteering, participating Scholars, such as undergraduate Scholar Nyimasata Danjo, were reminded of the importance of their contributions to their communities.

"I had to suppress tears in my eyes when reading notes left by kids at the Haven House. I imagined what my life would be like if I had grown up without a home or my parents, and I came to realize how fortunate I am and how much responsibility I have to help others," Danjo, a pre-med freshman, said. "Every child has the paramount right to be happy, recognized, and successful."

"Our reason for taking part in the Spartan Day of Service is to contribute to, impact, and achieve great things for fellow Spartans, local communities, and beyond," Danjo said. "I get this overwhelming happiness every time I help others, and this feeling impacts my life and inspires me to continue my service work."

On November 3, 2017, the Scholars also contributed their efforts to the ThanksLansing event at Lansing's Refugee Development Center. The RDC provides education, orientation, and support to local refugees as they become self-sufficient members of society.

ThanksLansing is an annual event hosted by the RDC that brings together their refugee students with the rest of the community. To celebrate donors who support the RDC, the event invites all to share in a collection of locally made ethnic foods, performances, and presentations to rejoice in the diversity of Lansing.

To assist with the event's success, 16 Scholars volunteered their time and efforts to set up the tables and chairs for the event, direct guests to parking locations, and serve food to guests.

In addition to the service work, a Scholar volunteered to fundraise for the RDC on Facebook. In honor of his birthday, undergraduate Scholar Emmanuel Chima set out to raise $200 to benefit the RDC; as of this writing, he has successfully raised $60.

With their service work and give-back mentalities, Spartan Scholars are indeed ensuring that the Greater Lansing community feels like home to everyone.