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RCAH Dean’s Choice Award

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Published: Nov 26, 2013

RCAH Dean’s Choice Winner Makes Impact on Community

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At the end of Michigan State University’s 2013 Spring Semester, we were excited to recognize Emily Nott as she was awarded $2,500 through MSUFCU’s Residential College of Arts and Humanities (RCAH) Dean’s Choice Award for Innovations in Civic Engagement.


The Credit Union is proud to partner with MSU for the Dean’s Choice Grant to acknowledge academic excellence across campus. Through this program, deans have the opportunity to submit applications to receive funds that will help them accomplish a program that benefits their students.


As the recipient of this award, Nott decided to use a portion of the funds to benefit Lansing’s REACH Studio Art Center. REACH is a non-profit space for arts education and civic engagement in REO Town; their programs are dedicated to mentoring at-risk youth, urban revitalization, and strengthening community.


“[REACH] helps teens realize who they want to be. I get out my creative side. I can’t do it in school anymore. Sometimes you can’t do that at home. It helps me get it out and it helps the community, too,” Rebecca, 17.


April Clobes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, added, “Giving back to the community is a core value here at the Credit Union and we were thrilled to hear Emily chose to contribute some of her funds from the MSU Dean’s Choice Grant to REACH Studio Art Center. REACH has a great mission of bringing people together in the community, and we were happy to be able to be a part of her project.”


One of the projects Nott implemented, a mural, began in the late part of Spring. Nott invited guest artist Abbey Hoffman to work with the teens at the studio to study the work of muralist, Candy Chang. Then, the teens started to plan their own version of a mural and worked on it with the help of both Hoffman and Nott.


The group began painting a beautiful mural of Michigan with several unique flowers, which represents a garden below the state, on site during the summer with the help of guest graffiti muralist, Samskee deBourbon.


You will also see within the mural, the prompt written, “Thank you Michigan! I am grateful for ____.”, which allows our community to express positive messages to the city.


“The mural was created to allow the community to reflect on what makes our home state unique, vibrant, and beautiful despite hard times. Along with making our community more colorful and beautiful, the mural allows us to celebrate the great gifts we receive from this great state,” said Nott. “The interactive chalkboard element of this mural allows it to remain an accurate and fully representational descriptor of the many lives and stories in our community, and to see the connection between these diverse stories in our love for Michigan.”


Next time you’re in Lansing, stop by the mural and write down what you’re grateful for! Also, check out the video below, created by guest artist, Dan Hartley, about the mural.