Campus Archaeology and A New School Year

Each new academic year brings with it the excitement and anticipation of something new; whether it is something new to experience, something new to learn, or new challenges to face and obstacles to hurdle.  There is no doubt in my mind that Michigan State University’s freshman class is feeling the emotional pull of all these “new” things, evoking fear, excitement, and sheer joy.  This mix of emotions may be new to the class of 2010, but since 1855, students have been feeling these same emotions as they enter the Michigan State University grounds.  It is a shared phenomenon that has occurred throughout MSU’s history.  One generation cannot explain it to another, but can only give the advice of alumni: “experience as much as you can while learning everything possible.”  We at Michigan State University are in the privileged position of being in and experiencing academia, at the pinnacle of knowledge and scholarship.  And, like generations of students before us, we do not take this for granted.

Like the incoming freshman class here at MSU, I find myself at a unique crossroads.  I am going into my 6th year of graduate school at MSU, and am in the midst of writing my dissertation and finishing my academic career here.  One would think that the “newness” of an upcoming school year would be lost on someone like me.  And yet it is the very opposite of that.  I have been fortunate to experience the emotions of something new this year as I take over the position of Campus Archaeologist.  I have run the gamut of emotions, from joy to fear and back again.  I find myself not only in a new position, but also in the new and exciting Campus Archaeology Program, a program that helps to bring archaeology and history to the University community, the greater regional and national community, and the professional community of archaeological scholars.

Many things have changed through the years since MSU’s creation.  But one thing has stood the test of time; the exciting feeling of starting a new year.  This year, as I carry out the role of campus archaeologist, I will truly cherish this feeling.  I hope to bring new ideas, overcome new challenges, and present new research to the vast community of Spartans that share a common history.  It is this history that I will celebrate, one of being on the forefront of discovery, knowledge and learning.  And this I will not take for granted.

From the Desk of the Campus Archaeologist,

Christopher Stawski



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