We are students. We are SPARTANS.

We are leaders, fighters, world-changers, organizers, unstoppable gusts of passionate wind. We are students. We are SPARTANS.

Fall of 2015, GYEC - MSU was started by Rachel Linnemann as a registered student organization. I still remember the day Rachel came to me with this idea. She asked me if I wanted to get involved and, knowing Rachel, I had a feeling it was going to be something very special. We soon met up to talk about how the club was going to be organized, who she wanted in our very first e-board, and how this was all going to work out. Three-ish hours later in the cafeteria, we had a plan, visions for the future, and a seemingly limitless amount of excitement.

A couple weeks after the late night cafeteria brainstorming we had our first e-board meeting. To say our e-board works well is an understatement. Our e-board is an extremely dynamic, diverse, and passionate group of individuals. We come from backgrounds in chemistry, math, interdisciplinary social science, dietetics, human biology, environmental sociology, public health—you name it, it is probably represented within our e-board. We have future doctors, educators, artists, scientists, and world-changers. We all come with diverse and valuable skills. When I sit and think about why our group of individuals can work so well together and create such amazing ideas, I'm perplexed. When we get together for our e-board meetings it feels less like a logistics meeting and more like a family gathering. Was it luck? Impressive decision making by Rachel? I’m not sure. But I am sure that this group of individuals is making a difference and making change in our local and global communities.

So, what exactly was Rachel’s vision? Rachel participated in an internship the summer of 2015 with GYEC in South Africa. Coming back to MSU this year, she wanted to share the powerful material and knowledge she gained while in  South Africa with MSU students and the community while growing relationships with other partner sites in the community with similar ideals. She wanted to share what she learned about service, youth, and global thinking in a way that empowers people to actualize their learning to make a positive change in the world. When I think about my interests and what I wanted out of my college experience, I can say that I want to be an agent of change. Being young and expected to have studies as a top priority as well as being aware of global vastness, it was hard to see how I was going to be an agent of change, how I was going to find a community who wanted the same. I wasn’t sure if it was possible. That was until GYEC - MSU. Rachel’s experiences in South Africa and her passion to create GYEC - MSU gave me, and many others, a platform for being agents of change.

We recently had our kick-off event, “It Takes a Village”. My thoughts can elegantly be summarized by the following quote by Earl Nightingale:

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves.
— Earl Nightingale

Now we strive to unite youth, be agents of social change, build and assist community locally and globally, and grow.

Alex Babbitt