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Lifting the Rock on MSU’s Investment Practices

Hey MSU community: have you ever wondered how the University invests its near $3 billion endowment? $3 billion is a lot of money, and whether or not you’ve given this endowment much thought, you have a stake in what happens with that money. If you’re interested in learning more about the endowment and the current state of MSU’s investment, you are invited to attend “Lift the Rock: Spartans for Accountable Investment,” a student-organized symposium on April 18th 3 to 6 p.m. in the Erickson Kiva. You will learn not only about findings regarding MSU’s investments, but also alternative forms of investment such as socially responsible and inclusive investment strategies. As a multi-billion dollar institution, MSU’s endowment spending practices are of public concern. Without action, these decisions will continue to be made without community input. It is time to lift the rock.

I have been working with my coworker Nat Hooper and the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development to develop this student-planned symposium. The event is slated to outline pathways for institutional accountability through the lens of MSU’s investment and spending practices. It will also seek to go beyond just “highlighting” the shortcomings of MSU’s investments, and is intended to be a call to action for a new era of ethical financial practices at the University. Participants will hear from expert presenters, including Walter Hanley and Perry Truscon from the MSU Roosevelt Institute; Terry Link, a retired faculty and librarian from MSU and current President of Starting Now, LLC.; and Sam Butler, the Executive Director from Doing Development Differently in Detroit. Discussion topics will include sustainable / socially responsible investment practices, community impact investing and neoliberal trends in Higher Education finance. Participants will have the opportunity to work together to identify their shared values and discuss how these values can be realized by the financial actions of this public institution.

We would love to extend a special thank you to all of the groups and organizations who have helped, both financially and otherwise, to make this event happen. “Lift the Rock” has the support of MSU Center for Community and Economic Development, the MSU Roosevelt Institute, Global Expertise Int., Doing Development Differently in Detroit, James Madison College Student Senate, the MSU Green Alliance, Case Hall Government, and other MSU community stakeholders. Your support is very appreciated!

Students, faculty, and all members of the MSU community are invited to participate in “Lift the Rock: Spartans For Accountable Investment” on April 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Erickson Kiva, Room 103. This event is completely free, and refreshments will be provided! Please RSVP on Facebook here.

For more information, please contact either Nathaniel Hooper (hooperna@msu.edu) or Grace Michienzi (michien3@msu.edu) or the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development (517-353-9555).


Grace is a Junior studying Social Relations and Policy at James Madison College at Michigan State University. She is from Jenison, Michigan and works as a Research Assistant at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development and as a Peer Research Assistant for MSU Libraries.
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