The Geography Building is located on the northeast corner of campus, just north of the beautiful Red Cedar river. There are several housing options in the East Lansing area. Like most college campuses, housing close to campus tends to be expensive and is used predominately by undergraduate students. Most Geography graduate students live to the west of campus, to the northeast of campus, or in Spartan Village.
The further west of campus you go, the more affordable the housing. However, distance isn’t that much of an issue because of the #1 CATA route running about every 15 minutes along Michigan Ave. and Grand River Ave. There are several apartment complexes west of where Michigan Ave. splits from Grand River Ave., located between those two roads, closer to the Frandor Shopping Center. Further west, just into Lansing, there are neighborhoods of houses that have been popular with graduate students. Many are for rent, but some are affordable to buy (even on a graduate student budget). Generally the cost of housing in this area decreases the further south you go. Graduate students tend to center around Michigan Ave.
Students who live northeast of campus usually either bike to campus or drive. There are a few houses for rent to the north. Both to the north and northeast, there are apartment complexes of varying style. Several cater to students and range from quieter, wooded neighborhoods to more festive undergraduate atmospheres.
Spartan Village has been a simple housing solution for graduate students when they first come to East Lansing. Located on the southwest corner of campus, it is close to the Manly Miles Building where some Geography students work and a relatively short bike ride across campus to the Geography Building. Spartan Village tenants tend to be culturally diverse and family oriented.
The CATA bus system has several routes running through campus and the greater Lansing area. CATA offers discounted fares for students, including a semester pass for about $50. Graduate students can obtain campus parking permits for lots south of the river, but they aren’t the most convenient for the Geography Building. A parking permit option more often preferred by Geography graduate students is the parking ramp affectionately called the ‘hamster cage’, for the shape of its multi-colored trim. This parking ramp is located behind the Student Book Store on Grand River Avenue. The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) offers discounted semester permits for this parking option. Another popular option for transportation is by bike. There is a large bike rack outside of the Geography Building and the community in general has good bike lanes and trails. The CATA buses also have racks for bikes on the front of the buses.
Geography Graduate student Group (Triple G)
The Geography Graduate student Group is a social organization for (you guessed it!) Geography Graduate students. Its primary functions are monthly business meetings, colloquiums with speakers from both the MSU campus and from elsewhere, as well as Happy Hours on Fridays after class. To organize these functions, the group has officer positions, which are simple ways to add leadership experience to students’ resumes. During the monthly meetings, information is provided about funding opportunities and various happenings around the department. The meetings are also opportunities to raise concerns that group officers can take back to the department faculty. The colloquiums are graduate student organized, allowing students to choose speakers they would like to hear. When guest speakers from outside the MSU community are invited, group meals are arranged to provide students the opportunity to get to know the speaker better. The Friday Happy Hours are simply a fantastic way to unwind with like-minded people at the end of the week. Graduate school can be stressful, but it is much easier to manage with a support group of good friends with whom you can share the experience.