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Wayne State celebrates completion of $151 million student apartment complex

The Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, a $151 million apartment complex at Wayne State University, has been completed. The 406,800 square-foot 840-bed student housing and retail project is Wayne State's largest student housing structure cost-wise, Tim Michael, associate vice president of student auxiliary services and chief housing officer, said in a statement emailed to Crain's. The first phase of the project — an 11-story center tower with 400 beds — was completed in August 2018. The last phase added two wings of six and eight stories on either side of the central tower. Those towers added apartments for 440 residents as well as a 9,000-square-foot Campus Health Center on the ground floor of the north tower and more retail space, the school's website says. Students moved into the two newest buildings at the start of the fall semester. Wayne State and local officials held a ribbon-cutting celebration Wednesday to mark the end of construction. "We are beyond thrilled that our partnership with Corvias has enabled us to provide quality facilities and resources for our students, while also allowing us to advance financially," Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said in the release. "Wayne State has always aimed to create a positive economic impact on the greater Detroit community. With Corvias' investment, we continue to increase job growth and support local and small businesses."
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Big Sean’s foundation helps tackle student homelessness

Rapper Big Sean’s philanthropic foundation continues to support a program created to deal with student homelessness at Detroit’s Wayne State University. The school recently announced a gift of $10,000 from Sean Anderson Foundation to the HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program. The foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program in 2016 and followed with financial gifts in 2017 and last year. The HIGH Program, created in 2013, provides short-term help to students in need to provide some stability and help them complete their degree. Big Sean, a Detroit native, formed the foundation in 2012 to help improve the quality of life for young people and their families.
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AG's office: Make Your Date didn't pay staff to raise funds

The state Attorney General's Office has found that a nonprofit for a program linked to Mayor Mike Duggan did not compensate staff or contractors to raise money nor did it take in enough funds to require state registration. Attorney General Dana Nessel's Charitable Trust division delved into the fundraising practices of the nonprofit Make Your Date, Inc. The single-page finding issued Tuesday by the Attorney General's Office notes that "it appears this organization does not compensate staff or independent contractors for services related to fundraising." "Additionally, this organization does not solicit or receive contributions in excess of $25,000 in a 12-month period," the letter notes, adding that based on the finding and state laws for charities, registration under the Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act was not required. Wayne State University noted in a Thursday statement that the attorney general office's analysis included interviews and inspection of documents and "confirmed that its registration exemption status was proper. The attorney general confirmed that the separate nonprofit had not spent or received in excess of $25,000 in a 12-month period," the university's statement reads. "In fact, it spent or received no money." Wayne State on Thursday said that the report reaffirms that the university is the only entity operating the program. "Wayne State is proud of Make Your Date, which a recent study has shown has reduced preterm birth among the program’s clients by up to 37%," the university wrote. "Wayne State University will continue to execute and expand the Make Your Date Program to further reduce preterm birth and improve pregnancy outcomes for women and children in the City of Detroit and beyond."
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Corvias completes state-of-the-art student housing complex, part of $307.5 million partnership with Wayne State University

A celebratory ribbon cutting was held Oct. 9 to mark the completion of Wayne State's Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments. The apartments will also feature more than 17,000 square feet of new retail space, along with the recently opened Campus Health Center. Through this $307.5 million partnership, 841 new beds have been successfully delivered, the Helen L. DeRoy Apartments were demolished to make way for a green space and an additional 370 renovated beds are coming in the Chatsworth Residence Hall. “We are beyond thrilled that our partnership with Corvias has enabled us to provide quality facilities and resources for our students, while also allowing us to advance financially," said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. "Wayne State has always aimed to create a positive economic impact on the greater Detroit community. With Corvias' investment, we continue to increase job growth and support local and small businesses."
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Big Sean’s foundation donates $10,000 for Wayne State’s HIGH Program

Big Sean continues to put on for his city. The Detroit native donated $10,000 through his Sean Anderson Foundation to benefit Wayne State University’s HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) program. This isn’t the first time that Sean has helped out in support of the program. In 2016, the foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program. In 2017, the foundation donated $15,000 and then followed up with $10,000 in 2018. The Sean Anderson Foundation’s executive director spoke on the impact of this commitment. “We are pleased to continue our commitment to the HIGH Program in support of its dedication to students facing hardships,” said Myra Anderson. “The HIGH Program touches the lives of students, helping them as they pursue their higher education goals.” Jacqueline Wilson, who founded the HIGH Program in 2013, said, “The Sean Anderson Foundation has been a consistent supporter of the HIGH Program through its financial support. The foundation’s resolve to provide funding helps us pursue our mission to ensure that no student abandons their dream of earning a degree at Wayne State University solely because of housing or financial challenges.”
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Black women bear largest burden in student debt crisis

So often, student loan debt is talked about in wide-ranging terms that mask the true impact on a community, particularly on women of color. Women hold almost two-thirds of the outstanding student loan debt in the United States, according to a key study by American Association of University Women. Black women have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group, according to the AAUW report. Staci Irvin, 51, went into default at one point. She started college at Wayne State in the late 1980s but then got married at 21 and had two children. She continued to take a class here and there. She took one year off, though, in the mid-1990s — a move that she didn't realize would trigger a requirement that she start making monthly payments on her student loans. She ended up going into default without really realizing it. When she later got a job working for Southfield Public Schools as a substitute teacher, she discovered one of the harsh consequences of going into default —  she saw a substantial portion of her wages being garnished to pay off those federal student loans. She wasn't aware of the penalties — late fees, collection costs, damages to one's credit score — for being in default. Private lenders often sue their borrowers who default on their student loan, too. She's back attending classes at Wayne State, working toward a bachelor's degree in communications. She's part of the college's Warrior Way Back program, which was introduced in 2018 as a way to re-engage students who left the university with debt and without a degree. The model includes a way toward some debt forgiveness for those with small balances. Irvin expects to have about $1,000 she owes the college forgiven.
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Lego starts recycling program for unwanted bricks

Danish toymaker Lego is testing a new way for customers to return their unwanted bricks in an effort to move closer to its goal of switching to 100 percent sustainable materials in the next decade. U.S. customers can now print out a mailing label on its site, dump their used Lego bricks in a box and ship them off for free, the company announced. The pieces will be cleaned, put in a box and given to Teach for America, a nonprofit that will donate them to classrooms across the United States. Some bricks will be sent to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for its after-school programs. In 2015, the Lego Group announced its ambition to use 100 percent sustainable materials in both its bricks and packaging by 2030. Now the company is speeding up that plan, announcing that it's aiming for 100 percent sustainable packaging by 2025 in an effort to make a "positive impact on the lives of children, our colleagues, our community and the planet." Plastic does not disintegrate. It breaks into smaller pieces, called microplastics, and can be eaten by animals and fish, putting their health at serious risk. It's a problem in all bodies of water, from the oceans to the Great Lakes. Earlier this year, Wayne State University was given a $1 million grant to hopefully find a solution to microplastics.
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A second chance at Detroit colleges

Dana Paglia was one of the first students to enroll in the Warrior Wayback program, an initiative Wayne State University launched last year that has become a model for higher ed institutions in the Detroit metro area and is drawing attention from well outside the Midwest region. The program offers incremental amounts of debt forgiveness to students who left without graduating if they re-enroll and make progress toward earning a degree. Warrior Wayback reflects the growing concern of many higher ed officials and policy makers with the number of students who leave college without a degree. Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said she got the idea for Warrior Wayback after listening to a radio story about a Detroit initiative to forgive parking fines of residents. “We had been talking about re-engaging adult students. A lot of students are hindered not just by student loan debt. They were hindered because they also owed us [a balance],” she said. “What if we could set it aside like a parking fine?” Colleges can’t forgive students' federal or private loans. But small balances students owe to their institutions can often make or break their ability to complete college, especially if they’ve exhausted financial aid options such as federal grants and loans. “When they came to us originally, we said based on their admission that they could be successful here. Somewhere along the way, we as an institution weren’t there to be helpful,” Medley said. “We see it very much as the student giving us another chance.” Wayne State students who withdrew more than two years ago, had at least a 2.0 grade point average and owe no more than $1,500 to the college are eligible for the Warrior Wayback program. Medley said the college has identified about 5,000 former students in the area who qualify and for whom they have a current address. About 60 percent were seniors when they left the college. And the vast majority (about 80 percent) have some level of financial need. Medley said she hopes eligibility requirements for the program can eventually be expanded further. Since Wayne State began Warrior Wayback in the fall of 2018, 142 students have enrolled in the program. Twenty have since graduated, and 10 more are expected to follow suit in December.
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Wayne State University pediatrician and professor helps develop policy recognizing racism as a health factor

A Wayne State University pediatrician played a critical role in developing a national policy statement that recognizes for the first time the impact racism has on the health of American children and teens. Lynn Smitherman, M.D., FAAP, assistant professor of WSU Pediatrics, is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Task Force Addressing Bias and Discrimination. The task force’s work contributed to the policy statement, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health,” issued by the AAP on July 30. The statement is a call for action by the nation’s pediatricians to reduce the impact of racism and improve the health of American children. The AAP believes that racism has a significant impact on children’s health. The academy says that pediatricians must play a part in improving the health condition of children through listening to families, creating “culturally safe medical homes” and by becoming advocates for social justice in their communities. “Eliminating discrimination, racism and bias in the care of our most valuable resource, our children, is a basic tenet to any civil society. Participating in the AAP’s Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination in the care of children was one of the many highlights of my professional career,” said Smitherman, who also chairs the National Medical Association’s Pediatric Section and is the vice chair of Medical Education for the WSU Department of Pediatrics. “Any activity to bring people together and heal the divides of this country are critically important to the well-being and health of the society in general. I was very proud that the AAP took this important position and that I, as a WSU faculty member, was able to contribute.”
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Trump’s America shines bright for Europe’s radical New Right

Senior Lecturer of History Sylvia Taschka wrote for The Conversation about the rise of Europe’s New Right. “Donald Trump might not be as popular in Europe as Barack Obama was, but for many groups on the far-right of Europe’s political spectrum, he has become a heroic figure. America under Trump is no longer seen as the enemy by the New Right. With the election of Trump, they have found a new hero in a surprising place…America under Trump is no longer seen as the enemy by the New Right. With the election of Trump, they have found a new hero in a surprising place.
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Protecting seniors from financial exploitation

Addressing what some call “The Crime of the 21st Century” Peter Lichtenberg of Wayne State University delivered an eye-opening presentation on the prevalence of financial exploitation in older adults. And the statistics reveal that it is growing at a rapid rate. In 2013, there were on average 1,300 suspicious activity reports a month, a figure that jumped to 5,700 a month in 2017 with an estimated loss of $1.7 billion in that year alone. “I just saw that millennials are getting scammed at a higher rate than older adults,” said Lichtenberg noting we are all vulnerable, “but the big losses, where you are scammed repeatedly are older adults.” Lichtenberg explained that cognitive impairment and probable Alzheimer’s Disease will affect nearly one out of every five individuals by the time they reach their 80th birthday. That figure jumps to nearly 40 percent by the age of 90. Referring to the insidious onset of the decline Lichtenberg said it often can be hidden. With cognitive aging folks can continue to retain facts, vocabulary and procedural knowledge without showing any signs in those areas, while at the same time losing reaction speed, memory and the ability to problem solve and plan. “They almost self-correct,” he observed changing social routines and curtailing their former hobbies. “It’s easy not to notice.” In the category of theft and scams, seniors can fall victim to various ploys losing their money to con artists, but often times the money is taken by family members, friends and trusted caregivers utilizing abuse of power, financial entitlement and coercion to access funds and even homes. “Just because someone has a cognitive impairment that doesn’t mean they can’t make any decisions,” said Lichtenberg offering a free service to assist with evaluations.
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Researchers progressing in fatberg study

A fatberg discovered in a Macomb County sewer had led to a more introspective look on the subject, courtesy of a pair of Wayne State University researchers. Barely more than a year ago, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller stood at a podium and discussed how a 100-foot long, 19-ton fatberg was discovered in a sewer 50 feet underground as part of the Lakeshore Interceptor along Interstate 94. A few months later, Wayne State University researchers acquired an $86,000 National Science Foundation grant that has allowed them to study how fats, oil and greases, or FOGs, lend themselves toward these environmental blobs. It also helps compile a model, aimed to predict future situations when fatbergs might arise — not just in Macomb County, but anywhere. “We’ve been working very closely with the Macomb County Department of Public Works to investigate the whole fatberg phenomena,” said Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at WSU. “Macomb County has been really helpful, and we have a wealth of information regarding system characters, and data regarding pressure flows of pipes before and after the fatberg.” Carol Miller works alongside Tracie Baker, assistant professor in WSU’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Their research as part of the grant will continue for about another four months.
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Why I’m teaching kids science through the sport of rowing

Elizabeth A. Barton, associate professor of research, wrote an article for The Conversation about her research in combining the sport of rowing with a new curriculum that teaches middle and high school students science and mathematical concepts. Working with the Detroit Boat Club Crew, overseen by the nonprofit Friends of Detroit Rowing, Barton’s innovative approach is tackling two areas of concern for Detroit youths: promoting physically active lifestyles and preparing youth for successful careers in scientific and technological fields. Barton wrote: “Rowing leans heavily on STEM concepts commonly found in the fields of mathematics, physics and kinesiology. Through the sport, our curriculum covers works from the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes up through NASA engineer Katherine Johnson. For example, potential and kinetic energy, boat velocity and rowers’ mass are strategies for teaching essential concepts. Promoting critical thinking skills, problem-solving and innovation through STEM education is necessary for job creation and retention for youth in the 21st century. Physical activity and participation in sports such as rowing is essential for mental and physical health and well-being. We hope that fusing the components of STEM and rowing will result in an engaging educational experience, healthier youth and future careers in high-demand fields.”
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Data: Metro Detroit pharmacies received more than 40 percent of state's pain pill supplies

At least 40 percent of the 2.9 billion prescription pain pills supplied to Michigan in the years preceding the nation’s third wave of opioid overdose deaths landed in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties, according to federal data released over the summer. The flood of pills fueled opioid deaths across the region, and some experts are thankful the newly-released Drug Enforcement Administration database can now be used to pinpoint trends and problem areas. Victoria Tutag Lehr, a Wayne State University pharmacy practice professor, said the database is good for verifying some suspected trends. “It has some research helpfulness, (yet) you just can’t assume that all those doses dispensed went to a patient with a prescription,” Lehr said. “People will tell you they’re not afraid of going to jail, losing their house, waking up in an alley … They are afraid of going into withdrawal. It’s a big, big issue.” She would prefer a more zoomed look at prescription opioid pills, such as similar data for census tracts or zip codes. Lehr emphasized that opioids should be part of “multi-modal management” that includes other treatments like topical anesthetics and physical therapy.
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Wayne State/Henry Ford Health System Lead $4 Million Detroit-Based NIH HEAL Initiative

The National Institutes of Health launched the “Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative” in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and to enhance pain management. This initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction. A team of researchers led by Wayne State University this week received one of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis. This $4 million award, “Dual-orexin antagonism as a mechanism for improving sleep and drug abstinence in opioid use disorder,” will bring together a research team from Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health System to investigate a rigorous treatment method that may offer a new therapeutic approach to reduce opioid addiction relapse. According to Mark Greenwald, Ph.D., principal investigator on Wayne State’s grant and professor and associate chair of research and director of the Substance Abuse Research Division in the Wayne State School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, insomnia is common in opioid addictions and is a major predictor of potential relapse. Current medications to treat insomnia have limited results on relapse and may produce unwanted side effects. “There are FDA-approved medications for treatment of insomnia, but there is an unmet need for alternatives, especially to aid in preventing opioid addiction relapses,” said Greenwald. “The Orexin (OX) system plays a key role in sleep and substance use, and offers promise as a potential alternative to other medications currently used to treat insomnia.
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Can ‘microscholarships’ steer student behavior?

Colleges have a pretty good idea of the student behaviors that are associated with retention. How can they encourage students to do those things? A company called RaiseMe is pitching a new approach: Colleges can use its platform to offer students “microscholarships,” or relatively small credits toward their bill, in return for completing such tasks. On Friday, RaiseMe announced that it’s conducting a pilot project on student-success microscholarships with Wayne State University. This year, participating freshmen at Wayne State can earn $10 to $50 a pop for activities like attending a campus arts or athletics event or taking a study-skills workshop. The total they earn — capped at $500 — will be subtracted from their college bill next fall. RaiseMe conducted a smaller pilot at Wayne State over the summer to see if a similar approach could reduce the number of students who “melted,” or did not enroll as planned. Wayne State, for one, is under no illusion that there’s a silver bullet for student success. For years the university has labored to improve its six-year graduation rate, which stood at just 28 percent in 2012. The university’s leaders want to see a six-year graduation rate of 50 percent by 2020, said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management, and it’s getting close. To achieve that level of progress, Wayne State has tried just about everything: overhauling its advising system and how it awards scholarships, using predictive analytics and a chatbot system, offering emergency grants and providing a food pantry. “It there is a practice out there,” Medley said, “then we want to make sure we’re doing that practice, and doing it well.” The university has had a good experience with RaiseMe on the admissions side, Medley said. Of the 2,968 admissions deposits the university received for the fall, 879 came from students who had used the platform. Of those, 515 came from students who had learned of the university from RaiseMe. More than anything, Medley said, RaiseMe helps Wayne State signal its interest in students who may have thought that a four-year college was out of reach — while there’s still time for those students to take steps to prepare. For current students, Medley said, the program could help “socially norm” the sorts of behaviors that the university knows are linked to student success. Ideally, Medley said, she’d like to see microscholarships cover the university’s annual tuition increases for students. If more students are retained, the university can make up the difference in volume. Still, she said, the effort is not a replacement for anything else the university is trying. “We’ve got 15 irons in the fire,” Medley said. “This is the 16th.”
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How to develop an appetite for insects

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report declaring the need to swap traditional protein sources for insects to support a sustainable future. The report helped drive an explosion of efforts all dedicated to making mealworms your next meal. When Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas, he and members of his expedition used the insect-eating of the native inhabitants as an example of savagery, and as justification for dehumanizing people he would later enslave, said Julie Lesnik, an anthropologist at Wayne State University and author of “Edible Insects and Human Evolution.” While it wasn’t the only factor, the colonial era deepened the stigmatization of entomophagy in mainland Europe, and in turn among European settlers in the Americas. Further distaste grew as insects threatened profitable agricultural monocultures supported by slavery and industrialization. Many of us were programmed early in life to fear insects, and developing an appetite for them won’t be easy. “It’s O.K. if you think it’s gross. It’s totally fine,” said Lesnik. “You didn’t ask to be programmed this way.” But entomophagy advocates think reprogramming can transform people’s attitudes toward insects. For instance, kale, sushi, lobster and even olive oil or tomatoes were once scorned and unfamiliar in some cultures. But change can come about. With education and by acknowledging negative feelings toward eating insects, adults can try to resist passing them to their children. “It will really benefit them if they don’t think bugs are gross,” she added. “Because it’s our kids’ generation that’s going to have to be able to solve those problems.”
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Iran sanctions, Saudi Oil attack and changes to Middle East college programs in U.S.

There are allegations that a Saudi oil facility was attacked earlier this month, there’s an Afghan election coming up and Trump discussed Iran aggressively in his address at the UN climate summit yesterday. Plus, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is going after some Near and Middle East college programs to reformat their curriculum to address what her department is calling “anti-Israel bias.” Detroit Today’s host Stephen Henderson sat down with Saeed Khan, senior lecturer of Near and Middle East history and politics at Wayne State University. On the attack on a Saudi oil facility: “The fact that Saudi are self investigating,” is troubling, explained Khan. “I think it’s quite telling that there is still quite a bit of ambiguity regarding what the intel and the investigation have shown, to the point that the government of Japan is still not persuaded that Iran was involved in any way,” he said. At the same time, Khan also pointed out that “the British, the French and the Germans have said Iran is responsible in some way, shape or form.” On the changes to Middle East college programs: “It seems as though the focus is on what is perceived to be an anti Israel bias, that of course is going to be in the eye of the beholder as to what then is the threshold of what is seen as criticism,” explained Khan.