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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Past and future Spartans experience MSU together


July 6, 2016

MSU alumni returned to their old stomping grounds, this time with their grandchildren for MSU’s annual Grandparents University program June 28-30.

The three-day event includes participants attending classes across campus, living in the residence halls, and sampling the many highlights of MSU.

One of the courses, entitled “Power to the People,” taught attendees how power is generated on campus, as well as new options for sustainable energy. Students created a solar concentrator using an acrylic sheet and special paint.

Afterwards, the group was given a tour of the power plant, and learned about MSU’s energy transition from coal to natural gas.

“Grandparents University is a great benefit for IPF,” said project coordinator Sean Barton. “Typically our department is more behind the scenes and GPU gives us an opportunity to shape the minds of young Spartans.”

In addition to the educational workshops, students are given the opportunity to see what their lives may look like if they were to attend a university.

“I found it really engaging and my grandaughter learned a lot,” said Johanna Balzer, grandmother and MSU alum. “I also learned why all my trees are dying from one of the classes, which may have been the best part of the program."

Grandparents University participants test their solar concentrators Sean Barton prepares attendees for their next activity Paul Swartz teaching his class about different trees on campus the group watching dirt being blown away from tree roots Paul and his class at grandparents university Participants test their solar concentrators Participants test their solar concentrators IPF employee giving a tour of the MSU power plant