The University Record, April 25, 1994

Lansing Service Center valuable arm of University in state capital

By Jane R. Elgass

Opened 13 months ago, the University’s Lansing Service Center is receiving rave reviews from those who have used and plan to use its facilities.

It’s a major contact point for the University in its outreach efforts on the west side of the state, and a location that is particularly pleasing to staff in the Office of Financial Aid and the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

“It’s an excellent facility for us and an excellent setting for the University,” says Undergraduate Admissions Director Theodore L. Spencer. “There are a lot of potential students for us in the Lansing area and farther west. Even though the area is home to Michigan State, there are a lot of students interested in Michigan.”

Furnished in “tasteful” maize and blue, the center “is a nice setting in which to bring together potential students and their parents, as well as being a ‘home away from home’ for faculty and staff who have business in the area and an arm of the University in the capital,” he adds.

Located a block from the State Capitol, the center includes an office with computer hook-ups, and a 12-person conference room.

Center director Veronica Johnson explains that the need for a Lansing “office” was first voiced about four years ago by President James J. Duderstadt, “as a means of increasing the University’s visibility in the state capital and to provide a base from which to share information with state government officials in new ways.

“We like to be considered a conduit through which information can be shared with government officials,” she explains. “If members of the University community have materials they want to share, send us 148 copies and we’ll distribute them. There are many things we can do as goodwill ambassadors.”

The center also is “a focal point for individuals who know the University exists as a resource, but don’t know how to tap into that,” adds Johnson, who holds a master’s degree in library and information studies from the U-M and formerly was a member of Gov. James Blanchard’s staff.

“We’re a clearinghouse of information and we welcome the opportunity to help the University make full use of this ‘gateway’ to state government.”

Undergraduate admissions assistant director Roger Doster plans to use the center as he does the University’s Detroit office. “There is heavy recruiting of top minority students in the Lansing area and Western Michigan,” he says.

“The center lays out the red carpet,” he notes, “and would impress anyone. It is an excellent place for small group presentations and for discussions about financial aid with students and their parents.

“We’re letting the high schools know the center is there, that it’s a long distance ‘welcoming hand’ from the University.

Spencer says his office will make use of the center primarily beginning in early September through mid-November, for recruitment purposes. Financial aid staff will make the most use Jan. 1–March 1, when students are applying for financial aid.

“Parents are understandably tense about financial considerations in sending students to the most expensive public school in the country,” Doster notes. With the availability of computers at the center, “we can knock that down since we’ll be able to come up with aid options while we’re there.

“We’re excited about the center and still are developing strategies to make the best use of the facilities.”

In addition to serving academic and administrative needs, the center has hosted several receptions.

The School of Social Work chose the center as the site for its welcoming of Dean Paula Allan-Meares—a logical choice because of the School’s many ties to state agencies.

Last week the center served as host for officials from the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the state’s Department of Natural Resources to announce a partnership to address and research the state’s pressing resource management issues.

Members of the University community interested in activities at the Lansing Center should contact Johnson at (517) 372-7801 or via e-mail.