Student life in the news

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Opinion: Incoming freshmen, don't panic. Colleges will support you

Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management, wrote an opinion piece reassuring incoming freshmen during the COVID-19 crisis. “Today, my entire enrollment management division is working remotely as is 95% of our university. I spend my days at a laptop, with headphones, and managing in a time unlike any other. First we focused on making sure that our current students had their needs met. For some, they went home. For others, we are their home. Now we are taking events designed around the “in person experience” and turning them into “experiences for the person.” Our faculty are moving mountains to take all of their experience and plans for coursework and distill it into educational, engaging and electronic forms…Parents and students, higher education institutions will support you. No, we don’t have all the answers yet because the questions and landscape change daily, but we are adapting rapidly.
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Michigan workers should get Election Day off, Benson says

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging businesses to give their workers the day off on Election Day by making it a company holiday. Benson said she’s encouraging Michigan companies to give employees the day off work on Nov. 3, so they can vote and work as poll workers. She praised Wayne State University for recently announcing such a move, MLive.com reported. Keith E. Whitfield, Wayne State’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said that Nov. 3 will be a university holiday, with no classes held and only essential employees reporting to work. “We hope that faculty, staff and students will take advantage of the Election Day holiday to exercise their civic duty and participate in these important national elections,” Whitfield wrote.
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Wayne State to observe Election Day as a holiday

The day of the next general election will be an official holiday at Wayne State University. “I’m very pleased to announce that this year, Wayne State University has officially declared Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, a university holiday,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson on Thursday. “This means there will be no classes, and the university will be closed, with the exception of essential personnel who must report to work. This holiday will afford faculty, staff and students the liberty to put their civic duty first.” The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law also is now home to the first-ever polling location on campus. Keith was a longtime federal judge who died last year at 96 and was known as a champion of civil and voting rights. The WSU Student Senate took action on a new polling site after students said the off-campus location was a barrier to voting in 2016.
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Vote now: Should Michigan's primary election be held before Super Tuesday?

The Iowa Caucus debacle is raising new questions about how the political parties should structure their elections to nominate a presidential candidate. So we're asking: Should Michigan's primary election be held before Super Tuesday? Not everyone thinks that by taking part earlier in the process a state has more influence on who will win. “The conventional thinking is that you are better off if you have your primary earlier, but that depends on the number of candidates in a race at a given time,” said Wayne State University Professor Marick Masters. Masters says even with our primary happening March 10, Michigan is important because it has 16 electoral votes and only 7 other states have more.
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Wayne State University unveils on-campus polling location in time for March primary

Wayne State University has established a polling location to serve Detroit's Precinct 149, a little over a month before the presidential primary election March 10. All voters of Precinct 149 will now cast ballots at the university's polling location inside the Wayne State Law School, 471 West Palmer. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined university officials and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey for the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In November, Wayne State University was recognized for student voting engagement, with a student rate of over 50 percent, earning the university a platinum seal — one of 61 institutions in the country to do so. Student voting at Wayne State increased to 53 percent in 2018 following the midterm elections, up from 27 percent in 2013, while the national average institutional voting rate was 39 percent in 2018, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. The university Board of Governors also declared Election Day in November a campus holiday, canceling classes and making it easier for students, staff, and faculty to hit the polls. “The university has gone to considerable measures to ensure every student’s voice is heard,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said. “This student-led initiative celebrates the life and legacy of Judge Damon Keith by making voting and civic engagement more accessible to campus residents. I believe (Keith) would be delighted with today’s announcement.”
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Jackson College, Wayne State University partner for business management degree

Jackson College students wishing to pursue a business management degree from Wayne State University soon can do so without the commute. Starting May 4, business tools and applications and advanced organizational behavior classes from Wayne State’s Mike Ilitch School of Business will be available for enrollment for the summer semester at Jackson College. “We hope to expand our schedule in the future to include additional majors within the Ilitch School,” said Carol Baldwin, WSU’s manager of marketing and communications of educational outreach. “Students also have the option of enrolling in online courses.” The Mike Ilitch School of Business faculty will teach all courses, including Prity Patel, who is available to meet with Jackson College students from Monday to Wednesday and by appointment. “Jackson students can transfer up to 82 credits to Wayne State by following an articulation agreement that is in place between our two institutions,” Baldwin said. WSU Provost Keith Whitfield believes the partnership is equally beneficial for them. “As a public institution, we are thrilled about this new partnership with Jackson College because it will allow us to serve a new group of students that we haven’t previously reached directly,” Whitfield said in a news release. “Most of our partnerships are in the tri-county area, so this is a big and exciting step west for us. We’ve had great conversations with President Phelan and Jackson’s leadership team, and the idea of bringing a four-year business degree to this campus is exciting. We are proud of what we do in Detroit and we believe this partnership will be an asset in Jackson as well.”
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Wayne State brings business classes to Jackson

Wayne State is now open for business in Jackson. Today people packed into Jackson College to learn about a new partnership between the two schools. The partnership allows students at Jackson College to obtain a degree in Business from Wayne State University without leaving Jackson. The president of Jackson College says this will help change the lives of young people across the Jackson area, and give students new opportunities while keeping tuition costs low. Students will start at Jackson College by taking some of the basic courses then transition in Wayne State classes. Advisers will work with students to make sure they are on the right track, and to make the transition as smooth as possible. “We try not to let students fall between the cracks. Our goal is to make sure that we get students across the finish line. Having a great start at Jackson College, and then being able to finish at Wayne State University is just a perfect pairing,” said Provost, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wayne State University, Keith Whitfield.
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Wayne State student athlete save's strangers life with bone marrow transplant

It's game day for the Wayne State University Football team, and number 42 kicker Luke Bevilacqua. While some try to be a hero on the field, Luke is a hero off the field. How far would you go to save a stranger's life? Luke didn't think twice about his sacrifice for a stranger. It is very rare when someone becomes a match for donating bone marrow. Which is why when a Wayne State student athlete got the call he was one after joining the Be The Match registry, he couldn't pass it up. "For me, I just did it because everyone else was doing it, and then like I said I didn't think much of it. My stuff got sent in and I didn't hear anything for a few months," he says. Luke was a busy student-athlete at WSU when he suddenly got a call he'll never forget about a woman he's never met. "They want you to know that you are someone who can save someone's life and there's sometimes not another option." Luke was told a 61-year-old woman in Texas needed his bone marrow to survive. Luke says the sacrifice was well worth it and that he'd do it again if he ever got the call again. Luke has been honored by the Allstate American Football Coaches Associaton Good Works Team. 
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It’s go big or go home in the International Year of the Periodic Table

Volunteers at Wayne State University had been braving the elements for hours on an October morning. The wind chapped cheeks and numbed fingers as volunteers wrangled giant blue tarps with the names, symbols, and atomic numbers of chemical elements painted on them. When gusts kicked up, the workers would joke that they were building the world’s largest kite. They were actually attempting to build the world’s largest periodic table. And they had competition. Four days earlier, on the opposite side of Michigan, at Grand Valley State University, another group of crafty science enthusiasts had assembled what it believed was the world’s largest periodic table. Michigan became the proud birthplace of two gigantic periodic tables within a week. The timing wasn’t an accident, either. It was National Chemistry Week during the International Year of the Periodic Table. Although the groups hatched their schemes independently of each other, they shared the same drive to do something huge to get lots of people—and not just chemists—talking about chemistry and the iconic table. By the end of the day, drones and news helicopters had circled the periodic table at Wayne State, which covered an area larger than three American football fields. CBS News shared a photo of the table on Twitter with its 7 million followers, as did ABC’s World News Tonight with its 1.4 million followers.
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Wayne Law holds rank as Best Value Law School

For the sixth consecutive year, Wayne State University Law School has been recognized as a Best Value Law School by The National Jurist and its sister publication, preLaw magazine. Of the 58 law schools on the list for 2019, Wayne Law was the only Michigan law school included. The ranking is designed to recognize the law schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt, according to the publication. Criteria for selection includes ultimate bar pass rating and two-year pass rate, employment rate, tuition, cost of living and average student debt accumulation. preLaw magazine also recognized Wayne Law among the top law schools in the category of Business Law.
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Detroiters just got free college thanks to Wayne State

Access to higher education is one of the key drivers of economic mobility, particularly in a city like Detroit where poverty rates are “nearly three times higher than the national average” at close to 35%. While Detroit has a very high high school graduation rate — over 88% — this falls off substantially when it comes to higher education. Only 28% make it through a 4-year degree, and 11%  through a graduate or professional degree program. Wayne State University, an institution that serves close to 18,000 undergraduate students each year, is looking to fix this — having taken the highly unusual step for a public institution of making tuition free for any high school graduate with a Detroit address who receives admission, starting in 2020. Keith Whitfield, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs talked about this historic announcement and its economic impacts. 
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Medical students take to the streets to give free care to Detroit's homeless

Armed with care packages, clothes and clinical supplies, medical students in Detroit are learning outside the classroom. They are putting their knowledge and boots to the pavement, providing free health care to the city's homeless. Each week, students under the supervision of a registered physician or nurse practitioner get on their bikes and look for those in need. Programs such as Michigan State University's Detroit Street Care, Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit and the University of Michigan's Wolverine Street Medicine work together to treat as many of the city's homeless as possible. Jedidiah Bell, a fourth-year med student at Wayne State University and president of Street Medicine Detroit, says seeing issues from lack of health care access in his home country of Zimbabwe made him want to participate. "When I moved to the states for university and medical school, I saw the similar things [lack of access] with the homeless population," said Bell. "When I saw street medicine, I appreciated the model of how can we take medical care to the street and build up trust to bridge the gap between the homeless and the medical world." While the programs provide a vital service to the community, Bell says the real-world experience teaches students things the classroom or clinic can't. "It teaches medical students to hone-in on, not just medical conditions of patients, but to be able to sit down and form relationships and discuss other things that might be contributing to [patients'] health but might not come up during a traditional medical encounter." Bell says there's a widespread belief that the "students take away more from people on the streets than they take away from us." Anneliese Petersen, a second-year medical student at Wayne State University and volunteer with Street Medicine Detroit, says the experience also shows upcoming medical professionals another side of health -- the social determinants. "Things that are not strictly medical-based but have a strong impact on health and well-being. Income, access to health care, access to medication, being able to eat well, sleep well, to be able to relax and not be under chronic stress."
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Wayne State's Chemistry Club builds 'world's largest periodic table'

To mark the International Year of the Periodic Table, Wayne State University’s Department of Chemistry created what is believed to be the largest periodic table in history — although no official record actually exists. Wayne State’s Chemistry Club, with help from clubs at University of Michigan Dearborn, U-M Flint, Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Tech, built a table that measured over 190,000 square feet, or approximately three football fields. “We went to a regional meeting and someone said, ‘Let’s make the biggest one ever,' ” said Sue White, a chemistry club co-adviser with Charlie Fehl. “It was an insane idea, but all we got was good advice on the best way to do it. Students and the department were very enthusiastic. People went out of their way to help us do the craziest thing ever.” Besides the 30-by-40-foot blue tarps used for each element, it took 95 gallons of paint and over 250 volunteers. Wednesday’s winds caused some concern, but 7,000 garden stakes kept everything in place.

How a Detroit area university’s debt-relief program has welcomed back and graduated students

Black college students are three times more likely to default on their loans than their white peers, and there are nearly 700,000 college students in the Detroit area that have dropped out after taking some classes but before earning a degree. Wayne State University’s Warrior Way Back debt-relief program is welcoming those students back, including recent graduate Shawnte’ Cain and Antonio Mitchell, who is currently a senior in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “For me, Warrior Way Back is more of a social justice mentality and mindset in higher education, that we are knocking down those barriers for students to reach their potential. That’s successful in and of itself,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management.
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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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New podcast from Wayne State features stories of Iraqi students studying in Detroit

Twenty one Iraqi college students came to Wayne State for three weeks over the summer to learn about American culture and democracy. They were here as part of the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program, an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and funded by the U.S. Department of State. While in Detroit, the students worked on leadership and communication skills. As part of the curriculum they put together a podcast. Colleen Ezzeddine is the communication faculty member who worked with the students on the storytelling project. “The podcast will give you an insight into Iraq’s young leaders of today and what’s on their minds,” says Ezzeddine. Each episode features one of the students telling a personal story from their life. Ezzeddine says the topics touch on death, medical challenges, what to do after high school and more. “The students mentioned that they wanted Americans to know that, on one hand they’re just like anybody else. And on the other hand they’re people that have gotten the short-end of the stick in certain situations but that they’re very dedicated, as one of them put it, to ‘make Iraq great again.’”
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Wayne State’s DetroitEd411 service gives instant access to higher education resources

Got a question about post-secondary education that you need answered right away? With Wayne State University’s newest information service, DetroitEd411, you can access information and resources about vocational training, financial aid, GED opportunities, child care and the like via Facebook Messenger. A collaboration between Wayne State and the Detroit Regional Chamber, DetroitEd411 is meant to support adult learners and promote college attainment and career readiness in Detroit. Search for the service on Messenger and be introduced to Spirit, an innovative blend of artificial intelligence and supervised machine learning, ready to answer all your questions, day or night. “One of the best things about using this adaptive technology is that we’re able to meet people wherever they are and answer questions in real time, without judgment,” says Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s vice president of enrollment management. “The amount of information Spirit is able to provide is limitless, and the database of answers and resources will only continue to grow, adapt and expand as more people take advantage of DetroitEd411.”
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Deiontae Nicholas back for last hurrah, seeks to lift Wayne State from doldrums

Sometimes the hardest part of football is figuring out when to let it go. After injuries limited him to playing in only seven games in the past two seasons, that time seemed to be drawing nigh for Wayne State’s Deiontae Nicholas. Nicholas was a redshirt senior and after a productive five years, he was poised to hang up his cleats for the final time, after an injury in the third game ended his year. Not quite. “After (the injury) happened, for the next two or three months, I was convinced that it was my last year and I was done,” Nicholas said. “Thoughts kept creeping back and things like getting accepted into grad school and teammates talking about our season not going well and next year being better. “Being around the team the rest of the season motivated me to give it another shot.” Nicholas got a medical waiver for a sixth year of eligibility and gets another shot to help Wayne State improve of its dismal 2-9 finish last season. In some ways, the sour taste from a poor showing helped motivate Nicholas to give it another shot.