The Spartan Podcast


dssp.jpg Hear the Conversation 21:44 min – 12.4 mb mp3

“The Dairy Store is only part of the dairy program at MSU,” Zey Ustunol tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today. “We have two stores and a trailer. Our dairy foods complex consists of our dairy plant, where we manufacture products that we sell in the stores. That’s where the cheese and ice cream is made.

“But more importantly the dairy foods complex is a teaching, research, and outreach facility. And part of our job is to serve the industry to provide our expertise in food safety and other issues they may encounter when running their own operations.”

Ustunol is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and she oversees research and student engagement at the Dairy Store. Brekelle Wiedenmannott is the Dairy Store Manager. She joins the conversation, too. Read more »


rfournier.jpg Hear the Conversation 29:24 min – 16.8 mb mp3

“It’s the greatest decision I’ve made since I married my wife,” Crain’s Detroit Business publisher and editor Ron Fournier tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today in describing his return to his hometown of Detroit. “It was a great experience working in Washington covering the White House and national politics, but Detroit was always home for my wife and me. And we were determined to get back.

“Working at Crain’s is great, but the truly great thing is being back with our families and being part of the state and what I hope will be a resurgence in Detroit.”

The group discusses the Detroit Homecoming event that aims to reconnect Detroit expats with their hometown by providing news, events, and opportunities to live, work, or invest in Detroit. Read more »


msutsp.jpg Hear the Show 52:54 min – 30.3 mb mp3

“Supply chain, particularly from a Michigan State perspective, means the end to end movement of product from the raw material from a mine or the ocean, through all the production processes, and to the consumer,” Professor David Closs tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today. “So we view it all as a very end to end process and try to manage that to meet the needs of the consumer and at the same time keeping cost and waste down.”

This MSU ethos “is what companies tell us differentiates MSU students. They understand end to end and they can communicate well to the executives.” Read more »


denae.jpg Hear the Conversation 12:12 min – 16.7 mb mp3

Denae Friedheim is the interim director and farm manager at the Student Organic Farm at Michigan State University.

Denae majored in biology and sociology, yet ended up running the show at the Student Organic Farm. “I came to food through the lens of public health. When I was in college, I was actually pre-med and I was very interested in medicine. I think food has come to be synonymous with medicine to me, over the last several years.”

Friedheim believes her work on the Student Organic Farm helps people. “We have a lot of students who work here in different capacities. Some come to us as volunteers, other undergraduates work as part of our farm crew and it’s their paid job while they’re in college. And then we have a lot of customers. We have several hundred people who come to our farm each week and we get to interact with them. We get to give people tours out here and tell them about where their food comes from, and it’s very fulfilling.”

What exactly is the purpose of the Student Organic Farm? Denae mentions two things. “A lot of people think our focus here is growing food organically and becoming experts in that, and that’s true in some respects. We definitely want to develop standards of practice and to teach beginning farmers and existing farmers to learn with them the best ways to grow food on this scale and the best ways to grow food year-round. That’s really our specialty.” Read more »


fowler.jpg Hear the Conversation 13:36 min – 7.8 mb mp3

“We’ve started building 25 tiny homes, 250 to 400 square feet each on lots from 30 to 100 feet, for formerly homeless people, low-income senior citizens, and students who have aged out of foster care,” Reverend Faith Fowler tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes. “The idea is that they’ll rent the homes for seven years based on the home’s square footage – a dollar per square foot per month.”

Fowler is senior pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and founder and executive director of Cass Community Social Services. In 2016, she was inducted into the 33rd class of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

“They [renters] have to make at least $10,000 per year. If they stay in the home and participate in the program for seven years, we’ll ask them to join a new homeowners association and give them the deed to the property and the house.

“It’s about helping people who are poor to have an asset. This really changes things now and generationally and helps give people economic mobility.” Read more »


sheril2.jpg Hear the Conversation 15:17 min – 8.8 mb mp3

“Michigan State University has launched a new food education initiative that aims to help consumers become better educated about food production and food choices,” says host Kirk Heinze as he welcomes Sheril Kirshenbaum to Greening of the Great Lakes.

Kirshenbaum is helping MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with the development and roll out of Food @ MSU: “Our Table.”

“There’s so much misinformation about food—much of it online and from social media.” says Kirshenbaum. “We aim to foster dialogue and listen to consumers to help us all become more informed about where our food comes from and how it impacts our health and our planet.”

Kirshenbaum says “a big piece of what we’re doing is called Our Table. That’s a series of conversations around an actual table – built from refurbished wood from the MSU campus – that are going to take place first on campus and in the Lansing area but then across the state and nation.” Read more »


IMG_21412.jpg Hear the Conversation 14:17 min – 8.2 mb mp3

Detroit Renewable Power (DRP) is an energy-from-waste facility on Detroit’s east side that processes up to 3,300 tons of municipal waste each and every day. It’s transformed into fuel that’s burned to create 720,000 pounds of steam per hour.

DRP is one of three renewable energy generation and distribution subsidiaries of Detroit Renewable Energy, formed in 2010. The other two subsidiaries are Detroit Thermal and Hamtramck Energy Services.

“It is very important to understand that Detroit Renewable Power is not an incinerator; it’s a co-generating facility,” says Steven White, Detroit Renewable Energy president and chairman of the board. “We also produce electricity.

“Incineration is a burning process in and of itself, and there’s no value remaining after the burn. Co-generation is where we use the waste as fuel. Steam is created from the burning process, and that steam is used to power a turbine to produce electricity.” Read more »


ehmehm.jpg Hear the Conversation 5:38 min – 7.7 mb mp3

Jack Koester, Bob Van Arkel and Lynn Harvey are Farm Lane Society members, and participants in the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association Golfing for Scholarships annual best ball scramble.

Jack Koester, a past director of the CANR alumni board, thought being on the board was pretty cool. “Not only are we involved in events like golfing for scholarships and fall events, but we also get to see some pretty cool things around campus at our board meetings.” Read more »


JackRusssp.jpg Hear the Conversation 10:29 min – 6 mb mp3

Ubiquitous and respected journalist Jack Lessenberry joins me on Greening of the Great Lakes to share his thoughts on a variety of environment-related topics in the news.

On Thursday, June 29, the state released the draft analysis of alternatives to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The alternatives study doesn’t make any recommendations. Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board will recommend what action, if any, Governor Snyder or Attorney General Schuette should take in regard to continued operation of Line 5.

“What we all know is that something like 540,000 gallons a day of oil and natural gas move through that pipeline, which has been at the bottom of the Straits since 1953. And if anything were to happen, both Lakes Michigan and Huron could be damaged beyond our power to imagine. It remains to be seen how much political pressure will be put on Enbridge to do something about that.” Read more »


lisa dietlin2.jpg Hear the Conversation 15:20 min – 8.8 mb mp3

Lisa Dietlin is the founder of the Institute of Transformational Philanthropy – that’s transformational – not transactional – philanthropy. She’s an alumna of Michigan State University and is an internationally recognized expert on philanthropy, charitable giving and transformational change.

“To me, philanthropy is a grown-up word for sharing,” Dietlin says. “It’s about giving up your resources – be it time, talent, or treasure – to make the world a better place. And transformational means you’re looking to give without expecting anything in return.”

Dietlin adds that the “overlooked, potential donors are entrepreneurs.” And she feels the future of philanthropy is bright.

“What most people don’t realize is that there are 12 million people working in this field, that’s 10.6 percent of the workforce. It’s the third largest employment sector in our country after retail and manufacturing. There are more people working in the nonprofit sector than work in oil and gas, the automotive industry, or electronics and technology.

Dietlin is the author of four books on the subjects of charitable giving and enacting positive change. She shares the anecdote that led her to write her fifth book, The Power of Three: How to achieve your goals by simply doing three things a day. Read more »

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