Michigan State University News

News, Videos, Photos and More from Michigan State University Students

Author Archive

Lansing Refugee Development Center helps refugees adapt; become self-sufficient

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on February 27, 2009

It takes courage to be a refugee

Poster hanging in RDC (Husband shot. Village burned. Hiding in the forest. Then rescue. Shelter. New documents. A fresh start. And, a widow at 17, the challenge of a new life.

Story by Jamie Gnebba, Jarquita Brooks, Jordan Travis, and Sara Qamar

It Takes Courage to be a Refugee

Lansing is home to a mass population of refugees from around the world. These refugees flee their homes, businesses and communities to escape persecution and war. They have lost friends and family members and lived in places where they had the least amount of control over their lives.

Refugees are guaranteed assistance for six months. After the six months these individuals are left abandoned in a world unfamiliar to them. Luckily, they can seek out the Lansing community for help.

The Refugee Development Center in Lansing has has a mission to provide the almost 400-600 hundred refugees who resettle in the area annually, with an educational center and the tools they need to succeed. The center, independently funded, is located within Christ Lutheran Church. RDC aspires to connect diverse refugee populations  with the resources they to need to prosper as United States citizens.



See it: Shirin Kambin Timms, Executive Director of the Refugee Development Center talks about the mission to help the refugees and the importance the center serves for the community.


Click to hear”]<!--[if lt IE 9]><script>document.createElement('audio');</script><![endif]-->
<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" id="audio-783-1" preload="none" style="width: 100%;" controls="controls"><source type="audio/mpeg" src="https://www.msu.edu/~gnebbaja/volunteers.mp3?_=1" /><a href="https://www.msu.edu/~gnebbaja/volunteers.mp3">https://www.msu.edu/~gnebbaja/volunteers.mp3</a></audio>


Hear it: RDC has hundreds of volunteers a year who assist with the education of refugees of all ages, children to adults, to help them adapt and move toward self-sufficiency. Michigan State University students, Courtney Reed and Melissa Jensen, talk about their experience with volunteering at RDC.







Fleeing for their Lives; A Refugee Story

Michigan State University Student, Dilo Benjamin speaks of his father’s life as a refugee and the trials and tribulations his family faced while fleeing for their lives. He and his family were one of the few to win the United States Visa lottery. The civil war they fled is still being fought today. In this horrific story of a man seeking a world far better than his current one, we get a closer look at the day in the life of a refugee.




Refugee Experience

Image from flickr user Reham Alhelsi http://www.flickr.com/photos/rehamalhelsi/ Click to hear




Click the picture to the right to listen to Michigan State University students Dilo Benjamin and Dua Aldasouqi as they share their refugee experiences.





Estimating the Refugee Population of Lansing; A Refugee Project

The Families and Communities Together Coalition, or FACT, planned a research project in 2006, lead by Michigan State University faculty members Steven Gold, Sociology; John Melcher, Urban & Regional Planning Program; Lori Post, Communication Arts & Sciences; Sergio Keck, Lansing School District, to accurately estimate the refugee and immigrant population in the greater Lansing area. The project aptly named Estimating the Refugee Population of Lansing is still ongoing and will also focus on the individuals’ social and demographic attributes.

Faculty members as well as a graduate student from the Michigan State University department of and Urban and Regional Plannings Community and Economic Development Program in conjunction will conduct the project with members of the Lansing Immigrant and Refugee Resource Collaborative. Acquiring accurate estimates will allow the assistance of attaining public and private funds for resettlement needs and services for the refugees. It is important for us to help these individuals adapt to out nation because we not only teach them the way but they can in turn teach us a new way of life.

John Melcher talks about refguees in terms of The Power of We Consortium, a unique, sustainable model for capacity building and community improvement is transforming Michigan’s Capital Area.

More from RDC: Click picture below to hear Executive Director Shirin Kambin Timms talk more about the unique refugee center.

Refugee Development Center

Image from Refugee Development Center Website Click to view slide show

Below is a presentation from the Refugee Development Center with general information about refugees;  who they are, what they’ve been through, and how RDC fits into it all.


More refugee information

Click the map below to see Lansing Refugee support centers.

The Cultural Orientation Resource Center keeps a current fiscal year admission statistics list of refugees who come to the United States. The number of refugees admitted to the U.S. since January 1, 2009 was last updated February 6, 2009 and consists of 17,214 refugees.

For more information on refugees, visit:

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency

US Citizenship and Immigration Bureau

Cultural Resource Orientation Center

Refugees International

US Committee for Refugees


Posted in Campus News | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Economic Crisis Has Little Effect on MSU Surplus Store

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on February 13, 2009

By Jarquita Brooks, Jamie Gnebba, Sara Qamar and Jordan Travis

The MSU Surplus Store sells a wide variety of used items, ranging from office and dorm furniture to laboratory and farm equipment.

When university departments replace their furniture or equipment, anything that can still be salvaged will be sold at the surplus store. The money then goes back to the department.
Typically, resale businesses do better during economic downturns than regular retail. The surplus surplus store, however, has not seen a dramatic change. Employees say their sales have typically been consistent and they continue to see significant customer traffic.

One potential threat to the store is cuts to the university budget. With less money to spend, departments will be forced to make due with the equipment they have rather than replacing it. This would mean that less items would be coming in to the store.

Currently located on Harrison Ave., the surplus store will relocate to its new location on Auxiliary Rd. The new building is expected to be finished by the summer of 2009.


Click the picture below to hear from some MSU Surplus Store customers

Posted in Campus News, East Lansing News | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Michigan State University Women’s Rugby; no mercy

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on February 10, 2009

A mini documentary shedding some light on a sport that is unknown to many.

Posted in MSU Sports | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Risking skin cancer just to get tan; is it worth it?

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on February 6, 2009

Society today tells us we must be thin and we must be tan. With spring break coming up students are rushing to the tanning salons to start working on their ‘beach bods.’ They are spending tons of money, and exposing themselves to the dangers of skin cancer just to ‘look good.’

Click the picture below to hear from some Michigan State University students about the reasons they go tanning.


For more information on the effects tanning has on your skin, visit The National Cancer Institute website.

Posted in Health News | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

New Years resolutions and upcoming spring break plans inspire students to purchase gym memberships

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on February 6, 2009

With the recent passing of New Years and the imminent spring break plans, gyms are seeing a spike in memberships as students try to keep resolutions and work on their ‘beach bod.’

Powerhouse Gym, located on Hagadorn Rd. right off of the Michigan State University campus has seen the trend of eager students rushing in to get their last minute workouts in before heading off on vacation. Karri Hopps, manager of Powerhouse says almost 80% of the students who purchase memberships in that time do not return after the break.

“You can usually tell…It’s just their attitude, Hopps says. “They’ll say ‘Oh spring break is coming up,’ and we are like alright, we will never see them again.”

Along with spring break plans, students seeking to shed a few pounds as their New Years resolution also fail to be consistent. How long does Hopps see them stick around? One month.

“We give them until about the 14th. Then they just stop coming.”

Year after year, resolution after resolution, and beach after beach students continue to try to look their best. However, losing weight is not something that is easy and there’s definitely no ‘quick fix.’ Being able to be consistent and stick with a program will be most beneficial and is the best way to stay healthy.

And, according to Hopps, what is the key thing  people need in order to continue their workout routine? Self-motivation.

Posted in East Lansing News, Health News | 2 Comments »

Michigan State University students cope with rising tuition in hard economic times

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on January 30, 2009

Every year tuition costs rise at universities and every year students find it harder and harder to come up with the money. Here, a few students talk about the hardships of paying the rising fees, what effects they have seen from the increase, and what they think should be done about it.

Below is a chart of the percentage increase of tuition for several Michigan universities in 2006.



Chart from Detroit Free Press, July 27, 2006

Posted in Campus News | 5 Comments »

Michigan State University women’s rugby practice; video sequence

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on January 30, 2009

Posted in Campus News, MSU Sports | 3 Comments »

Pros and cons of sports drinks; water may be just as beneficial when sweating

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on January 30, 2009

Even many athletes who use sports drinks don’t know the nutritional value. We talked to some Michigan State University athletes and told them about a few of the studies we found.



Sometimes the sound of Lemon-Lime or Gatorade Frost sound better than plain old water. But before you reach for that sports drink to quench your thirst, there are a few things you should know.

Sports Drinks vs. Water

Every commercial for sports drinks emphasizes the benefits of replenishing electrolytes that you sweat out during exercise. If you are the professional athlete in that commercial then that is probably beneficial, but for many others that is not the case.

Studies have shown that the loss of electrolytes is not extremely prevalent unless you are sweating profusely for over 60 minutes. Until that time, water is able to replenish what the body loses in sweat.

No excess weight

Another reason you may not be so eager to grab a sports drink is on the label. A 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade Rain contains 75 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 165 milligrams of sodium. A report from the University of California at Berkeley‘s Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health warned that students who drink one 20-ounce sports drink every day for a year may gain about 13 pounds.

Keeping your teeth healthy

One thing many people don’t think about while drinking is their teeth. A study done at the University of Iowa shows that the common sports drink, Gatorade, erodes teeth faster than Coke. Researchers dunked teeth in test tubes filled with regular Coke, Diet Coke, Gatorade, Red Bull, or 100 percent apple juice.

Every five hours, the researchers refreshed the beverages. After 25 hours, they examined the teeth with a microscope. All of the teeth showed erosion, but different beverages had significantly different effects.

On the enamel, Gatorade was significantly more corrosive than Red Bull and Coke. Red Bull and Coke, in turn, were significantly more corrosive than Diet Coke and apple juice.

What is in sports drinks?

After looking at the label on sports drinks a little more, the unsettling fact arises that the three main ingredients they contain are water, high fructose corn syrup, and salt.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the number one source of calories in the US. It is the most prevalent sweetener used in foods and beverages today, and has been clearly linked to the rise in obesity and metabolic syndrome.

In addition, a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade contains approximately 275 milligrams of sodium, almost 12 percent of the recommended daily allowance for people ages 14 to 18. Already, more than 75 percent of children consume more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, according to the Institute of Medicine.


If you are going to drink a sports drink, remember these helpful tips

For exercise or physical exertion lasting less than 1 hour:
• Plain water works just fine and is cost effective.
• If the flavor of a sports drink is more
appealing, that’s fine to drink, too. Just
remember, sports drinks are not calorie- or

For extended periods of exercise or for physical exertion lasting 1 hour or more:
• Sports drinks containing carbohydrates and
electrolytes help prevent dehydration and
restore important minerals lost through
perspiration, and they produce better hydration
than water.

Posted in Health News, MSU Sports | 15 Comments »

Jamie Gnebba; hippie at heart

Posted by Jamie Gnebba on January 27, 2009

How bad do you really want to know me?

From the eggs I ate this morning to the class I’ll do the crossword through tonight, I don’t lead a very exciting life. Instead of boring you with the things I like and don’t like, I’ll just tell you: chopsticks, puppy lips, road trips, big sips, merry-go-round, upside down, paint the town, hit em hard, make a card,  fun-fetti, done already.

Weird? Yes, people have told me that I am.


My Twitter Account –  http://twitter.com/JamieGnebba

My YouTube Accounthttp://www.youtube.com/user/gnebbaja

Posted in Campus News | Leave a Comment »