Display Accessibility Tools

Accessibility Tools


Highlight Links

Change Contrast

Increase Text Size

Increase Letter Spacing

Readability Bar

Dyslexia Friendly Font

Increase Cursor Size

RISE Annual Report

RISE Annual Report 2017-2018

April 15, 2018

One cannot look back on this year without recognizing the tragedy our institution faced as details from the Nassar case were revealed.  The horrors of this abuse of power shook us to the core and continue to reverberate through our community.  In light of this tragedy we have doubled our efforts and commitment to providing our students with a living learning environment that is safe and inclusive.  We are proud of our students who have created a new RISE Health and Wellness team focused on providing restorative workshops to educate their peers about mental and physical self-care.  As leaders at MSU, Heather and I continue to advocate for university resources to provide students with improved access for counseling and psychiatric services.  We both recently received training in intergroup dialogue in an effort to support the university-wide culture change in becoming a place where listening is valued.  

As a testimony to our students’ incredible resilience you will find in the following pages stories of great work towards a better future.  RISE students have expanded the Bailey Tea Project to become MSU’s first ever student-run business, Land Grant Goods.  We are exploring new ways to cultivate mushrooms in our passive solar hoophouse.  Our Campus Fair-Trade team recently attended a national conference in Washington DC in order to bring back best practices to MSU.  In 2018 we will award two scholarships from our newly established Soichiro Kurachi RISE Student Leader Endowment and we will send three students to Japan to study international sustainable business practices.

We hope you will be continually inspired by our student’s commitment to change.



Laurie Thorp, PhD
Director, RISE

Heather Shea
Assistant Director, RISE

To download a PDF of the report, click on your preferred file size here:

RISE 2017-2018 Annual Report - low resolution [2MB]
RISE 2017-2018 Annual Report - full resolution [1.0GB]

Or, click/scroll through a web-based version of the report sections here:

Recruitment Efforts

Land Grant Goods

Peer Mentor Program

NSC 292 Contemplative Practices for Resilience

Soichiro Kurachi Endowment

Japan Corn Starch Summer Study Internship

Co-Curricular Teams

  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hydroponics
  • Sustainable Stories Blog Team
  • Health & Wellness
  • Bee Team

Graduates by College

Student Awards & Leaders

Thank You RISE Partners!

RISE Recruitment collage with poloroidsRecruiting the students who will be our future RISE CHANGE AGENTS

We are especially proud of our recruitment efforts this year.  Led by Heather and assisted by our MSU Student Affairs practicum student Karlee Moxley and several undergraduates we witnessed the largest turnout for our annual RISE Open House with over 125 attendees.  We are clearly seeing the fruits of our labor pay off in the quality of our recruits.  The strength of our facilities combined with our experiential learning pedagogy is attracting high performing students with a wealth of prior environmental leadership experience.  This year we anticipate at least four Academic Distinguished Scholars and a University Distinguished Scholar in our fall 2018 cohort.  The average ACT score for this cohort is 30, up from an average of 27 last year.

The RISE Academic Orientation Program (AOP) Prep workshop is held in April prior to the university orientations that occur throughout the summer. The aim of this day is for students to become acquainted with the MSU colleges in order to find their best fit. Students will leave with a foundational understanding of self-awareness and their own areas of interest. The session includes student panels and conversations around passion, skills, and self-authorship and characteristics of students that are in each MSU college. AOP Prep aims to improve self-assessment of skills and strong interests in career paths, to promote a safe space for self-discovery, and to provide the opportunity for real conversations about career exploration by introducing the conversation of what truly makes up a major. Students leave AOP Prep with points of contact within RISE and the ability to begin navigating the MSU system to be best prepared for AOP sessions in the summer. 


Lang Grant Goods CEOsLAND GRANT GOODS Goes Green for Good

This year marked the first full year of business for MSU’s first ever student-run business Land Grant Goods.  As a fulfillment of the provost’s vision for expanded entrepreneurial skill building at MSU, this business has provided students from multiple majors and colleges “hands-on” experience with running a value-added agricultural start-up.  The student leaders report to a board of directors comprised of the participating partners for the business: Neil Kane, Director for Undergraduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Paul Jacques, Spartan Innovations, Ken Szymusziak, Broad College of Business, and Laurie Thorp, RISE Program.  All products are made from products grown organically at Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm or the MSU Student Organic Farm.  You can purchase LGG products online (landgrantgoods.com) or at the 1855 Place Spartan Market and the MSU Surplus Store.   

Peer mentor group shot and RISE buttonsSupporting Transitions & Student Success through our PEER MENTORING PROGRAM

Now in its fifth year, the RISE peer mentor program continued to provide support for student transitions and academic success at MSU via intentional outreach, RISE events, and one-on-one support.  Our peer mentor program pairs experienced second-year students with incoming first year students. This year’s mentor cohort was the largest we’ve ever had (19!) and many of the mentors served in dual roles as tutors, NSC 192 learning assistants, and team leaders. The Mentor Coordinator, Cameron Andrews, provided support to mentors as they assisted first year students. For next year, the RISE Mentor Program will be one of the Pilot Activities for Michigan State University’s Co-Curricular Record.


Resilence classContemplative Practices for Environmental and Community RESILIENCE

In the spring semester, Drs. Lissy Goralnik, Robby Richardson and Laurie Thorp facilitated a 2-credit seminar on contemplative practices for ecological resilience.  The course is designed to explore how contemplative practices can help sustainability learners and leaders develop individual resilience, in ways that support the development of resilient communities, who can then work collaboratively toward resilient socio-ecological systems. Each class includes short group practices with longer weekly explorations of other contemplative practices as well as creative and contemplative readings and open dialogue. Contemplative practices can help students find balance in their commitments, as they strengthen their inner reserves and develop skills to not only cope, but to flourish in the academic and activist environments. As well, working with breath and body can re-ignite a connection one’s whole self in a way that can inform environmental learning and practice, while also healing and sustaining one to do good work on behalf of communities and the natural world.  


Japan Corn Starch president We are Grateful for Global Partnerships and TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFTS: Soichiro Kurachi Endowed Scholarship for Emerging Leaders in RISE

We are exceedingly grateful this year for our partnership with President Soichiro Kurachi of Japan Corn Starch.  President Kurachi has a long history working with Michigan State University and Professor Ramani Narayan on compostable plastics.  He has a deep commitment to international exchange in education and sustainable business practices.  RISE was identified by President Kurachi as an exemplary academic program for his daughter to study environmental leadership for women.  Following her experience with RISE, Erika Kurachi went on to be awarded the opportunity to study at University of Illinois.  Because of our mentoring and leadership development for his daughter, President Kurachi chose to establish the Soichiro Kurachi Endowed Scholarship for emerging leaders in RISE.  This gift of $125,000 will allow us to award two deserving RISE leaders annually with academic scholarships.


JCS groupAn Opportunity to LEAD: JCS Summer Study Program

In addition to the generous gift to establish the Soichiro Kurachi Endowment, President Kurachi has made an annual commitment to bring two to three RISE students to Japan for a 10-day summer study program.  The expenses for this program are entirely covered by Japan Corn Starch.  

RISE students will have the opportunity to travel to Japan and experience multiple aspects of a large international agricultural business first-hand.  Japan Corn Starch is a 150 year-old business focused on the production of: bioplastics, cornstarch, pharmaceutical cornstarch, corn sweetener, and rice starch. JCS is a world leader in sustainable practices including composting of production waste materials, CO2 reduction, recycling and other forms of pollution prevention.  JCS also supports US farmers who produce non-GMO corn. 

During this intensive internship, students will visit the JCS corporate headquarters in Tokyo and tour the Kinuura Plant in order to see all aspects of production.  Students will have the opportunity to meet with CEO and President Soichiro Kurachi, along with directors of Research and Development, Sales, Marketing, Quality Control, and Purchasing.  

New in 2018, students will tour the site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to learn more about the impact and aftermath of the tsunami on this region.

Included in this study program are several cultural tours to provide our students with exposure to historical and cross-cultural learning.  Students will experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, tour a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple, dine on authentic Japanese cuisine, visit Mt. Fuji, sightseeing in Nagoya and Tokyo.

Summer program participants in 2018 are Evan Beresford, Lauren Lepsky, and Eleanor Kole.


Interdisciplinary Experiential Learning through CO-CURRICULAR TEAMS

Our co-curricular teams are the heart and soul of the experiential learning we embrace in RISE. Each year in NSC 192 we require our students to provide 10 hours of engagement with their favorite RISE team project.  Every year the scope and variety of teams varies, however, some of our perennial favorites include: compost, worms, cooking workshops, bees and mushrooms. These high-impact practices allow students the opportunity to engage in real campus change initiatives, develop team leadership skills and interdisciplinary communication. Although the teams are formed in the fall semester we foster the growth of these teams into spring semester. Sophomores and juniors typically provide continuity of leadership for the projects.

HydroponicsLiberty Hyde Bailey Hydroponics

First-year students Ashley Wright and Caleb Spall are exploring the viability of growing herbs hydroponically in Bailey Hall.  This team was very successful in garnering equipment donations from Botanicare Plant Energy Products and High Tech Garden Supply.  The hydroponic system is a pilot project to explore both growing plants in a limited space (often urban) as well as the need to reduce water use and waste. Our first successful crop was Thai basil grown from January through March and sold to our partners in MSU Culinary Services.


blogSustainable Stories Blog Team 

It was the best of blogs, it was the worst of blogs. It was an age of Wordpress, it was an age of poorly thought out parody intros. The RISE blog, Sustainable Stories, is a student-run blog (edited by Kara Headley, Haylie May, and Racheal Nassimbwa) that posts weekly articles about environmental news, RISE events, and other things. The blog team members work together to create a supportive environment where any writer can publish their work. Our goal is to make environmental news accessible to everyone in an easy to read and entertaining way. In between news, we publish articles about the different activities RISE students participate in, like yoga nights, movie nights, and working in the greenhouse. Sometimes the articles feature stories about entertainment, like movie reviews and strange places to sleep. The blog team is a place where students can grow their writing skills and make new friends.

Health and Wellness TeamHealth & Wellness

This new team was created by Hannah Grindling and several first-year RISE students in response to the increasing need to develop coping strategies for stress, anxiety, depression and a host of mental health issues.  The Health and Wellness team has hosted throughout the year a series of workshops to provide their peers with skills such as yoga, mindfulness, time-management, and a variety of therapeutic crafts.  

beesBee Team 

Our Bee Team continues to hum along with the extraordinary news that our rooftop colonies have survived the long Michigan winter and Varroa infestation!  The team held several workshops for Brody residents and Oliver Autrey, Michal Babinski, and Anna Jullie presented their work at the Clinton Global Initiative University.  They have also presented their project at a meeting of the mid-Michigan beekeepers organization.  Several local elementary schools have also learned about the wonders of bees thanks to the Bee Team.


graduatesMAY 2018 RISE GRADUATES: Environmental & Sustainability Studies Minor

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Sabrina Alafita- FW

Alex Albers-Nutri Sci

Sierra Barfield- FOR

Sarah Ebaugh-Food Sci

Blake Erhart- EEP

Ashely Dixon-FW

Jack Duvall-EEM 

Haley Ferer-PKG

Kristen Field-FOR

Zachary Forbush- SPRT

Bret Foster-FOR

Degen Gembarowski-HRT

Anna Marie Hense-PKG

Taylor Hess-FOR

Shane Hoey-PKG

Kera Howell-AFNRE

Colleen Joseph-Nutri Sci

Alysha Keeling-ESS

Joshua Knoll-EEP

Nathan Lee- EEM

Katie Mercer-FOR

Nicole Mosteller-ESS

Shaina Opperman-ESS

Caroline Redick- EEP- 

Jacqueline Rogge-ESS

Jack Schumacher-PKG

Tegan Servo-PKG

Zack Thomas-PKG

Espoir Tuyisenge-FIM

Maggie Vroman -PKG 

Becky Wildt- FW

Jess Wiley- ANS


Eli Broad College of Business

Christiana Apol- FIN

Jeff Barko-Supply Chain

Abbey Baum-HRM

Stephen Brown-Supply Chain

Juliet Degain-Supply Chain

Savannah Krull- Supply Chain 

Victoria Qiao-MGMT

Brittany Shaheen- MKT

Kaylee Zajac- Supply Chain 


College of Natural Science

Darlene Brennan- Biochem

Nicole Featherstone- ZOL

Nick Green- ZOL

Ariana Hernandez-ZOL

Katheryne Johnston-EBM

Hannah Macdonald-Earth Sci

Cody Madsen-Biochem

Michelle Michaels-Earth Sci

Nicole Robichaud-ZOL

Nur Sapuan- EBZ

Lucy Schroeder-PB

Dave Urich- Hum Bio

Isaac Walton-ZOL

Nicholas Wilson- Hum Bio 

Erin Zimmer-EBZ


College of Social Science 

Grace Clark-ISS

Zach Grover-CJ

Amy Hair-ANT

Julian Hughes-Pol Sci

Megan Isaacson-ECON

Joe Klawiter-Pol Sci

Diane Lee-ISS

Alec Manaia-Soc

Kealan Millies-Lucke- URP


College of Engineering

Matthew Hamilton- AES

Jarrett Janicki-Chem EGR

Shyly Katbai-Enviro EGR

Alexis Kontorousis-Biosystems

Patrick Kuiper-AES

Harrison Malach-AES

Nikki Onopa-AES

Marina Ostaszewski-Env EGR


College of Communication Arts and Science

Ryleigh Mcgregor- Com


College of Arts and Letters

Jay Hull-PW

Hanna Kielar – PW 


Lyman Briggs

Abby Sulesky-EBM


College of Education

Bethany Kogut- Primary Ed


James Madison College

Joe Lange-SRP


College of Nursing

Roberta Dankyi-Nursing




Lillian Slajus, STAR Scholarship,4 year full ride

Jaclyn Barta, G. Malcom Trout Scholarship, $3000

John Pynnonen, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, $3500

Bethany Kogut, Gupta Values Scholarship, UECP COE, MSU Community Club, $9000

Mary McHugh, FLAS, CAL Beyond Boundaries, $9000

Abby Branstetter, Hal and Jean Glassen Scholarship, $5000/yr x 4

Caleb Spall, Henry Ritter Scholarship, $2100

Lauren Lepsky, Trout Food Science and Nutrition, $5000

Kiera Quigley, Niles R. Kevern Scholarship, $1000

Lauren Lahie, Ann E. Parker Scholarship, $1200/yr

Lauren Lahie, MSU Homecoming Court 2018-2019

Holly Pummell, Hal Glassen Scholarship, $3000

Don Nguyen, MSU Dean's Research Scholarship, $1500

Don Nguyen, University of Michigan MD/PhD Summer Research Program,$4500              

Emma Rice, Ralph E. & Patricia A. Hepp Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship, $1000



2017-2018 Mentors

Shatha Alabbad

Cameron Andrews * 

Jaclyn Barta

Claire Dion

Hannah Grindling

Braedon Halle

Ethan Jodoin

Parker Johnson

Lauren Lahie

Hannah Landwerlen

Andrea Lescoe

Brittany Mae

Don Nguyen

Kiera Quigley

Max Raphelson

Jamie Raupp

Hannah Rusgo

Joseph Wakar

Mia White

Abe Yeck



Abe Yeck

Brittany Mae

Don Ngyuen

Joe Wakar


Bailey Green Team

Rachel Burdt 

Lexi Dalecki *

Degen Gembarowski

Corrine Johnston

Bethany Kogut *

Lindsay Mensch **

Caleb Spall *

Mia White **


1st Year Recruitment Team

Jaclyn Barta

Kathryn Beauchamp

Evan Beresford

Abby Branstetter *

Michael Chung

Emily Dettloff

Alison Ferer

Nicole Hawes

Zach Hayes

Natalie Kagole

Nana Krah

Lauren Lahie

Katie Mack

Karlee Moxley *

Racheal Chris Nassimba

Kaitlyn Nessler

Max Offerman

Kiera Quigley *

Jamie Raupp **

Kellie Rietsch

Nick Trolz

Faith White


Land Grant Goods  Paid Staff

Evan Beresford

Zack Hayes

Bethany Kogut *

Nana Krah

Alex Marx **

Abdullah Mohammed **

Jake Standefer


* Indicates Current Coordinator/leader

** Indicates Past Coordinator/Leader



Thank you PARTNERS!

We couldn’t do it without you.  Heartfelt thanks to you our community partners who create a network of care and support for our students.


Neil Kane, Undergraduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Ken Szymusziak, Broad College of Business

Paul Jacques, Spartan Innovations

Chris Sell, Spartan Innovations

Denae Friedheim, Student Organic Farm

Mike Hamm, Department of Community Sustainability

Lissy Goralnik, Department of Community Sustainability

Robby Richardson, Department of Community Sustainability

Kurt Kwiatkowski, Culinary Services

Meghan Milbrath, Department of Entomology

Greg Bonito, Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Science

Michael and Donna Kaplowitz

Becky Jo Farrington, College of Natural Science

Daniel Spadafore, International Studies and Programs

Angha Childress, International Studies and Programs

Tom March, MSU Surplus

Jennifer Kay, Residential Education and Housing Services

Vennie Gore, Auxillary Services

Daniel Delaney, Sparty’s Market

...and our many friends at:

Culinary Services

IPF Sustainability 

Residential and Hospitality Services

Residential Education and Housing Services

Housing Assignments Office

College of Natural Science

College of Agriculture And Natural Resources

College of Engineering

Eli Broad College of Business

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

College of Social Science

College of Arts And Letters