East Lansing Rotary Club, City of East Lansing to Launch Downtown Weekend Warrior Program

As a part of the “Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime. Place Project,” the East Lansing Rotary Club will be partnering with the City of East Lansing to launch the Downtown Weekend Warrior Program this Saturday, Feb. 20.

Members of the Rotary Club will be volunteering their time to help activate several public spaces in downtown East Lansing every Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. over the next six weekends. They will be overseeing the community’s use of heaters at rotating outdoor dining spaces in the downtown and will also be distributing masks, hand warmers and hand sanitizer to downtown patrons.

“The call was put out to East Lansing Rotarians and they are eager to volunteer their time to support the City of East Lansing and downtown businesses,” said Chris Nugent, President of Horizon Bank (Greater Lansing Market) and President-Elect of the East Lansing Rotary Club.

Community members can grab takeout from downtown East Lansing businesses and dine outdoors during the Downtown Weekend Warrior activations this winter and early spring. Dates, times and locations are provided below:

  • Saturday, Feb. 20 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; the pedestrian alley in the 500 Block of Grand River Avenue (adjacent to Campbell’s Market Basket)
  • Saturday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; the pedestrian link under Newman Lofts (adjacent to Barrio Tacos)
  • Saturday, March 6 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; the north side of the Division Street Garage
  • Saturday March 13 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Ann Street Plaza (corner of Albert and M.A.C. avenues)
  • Saturday, March 20 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; location TBD
  • Saturday, March 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; elevated plaza on the east side of the East Lansing Marriott

“East Lansing Rotary members are pleased to partner with the City of East Lansing as we navigate through these challenging times,” said Peter Dewan, East Lansing Rotary Foundation Board. “We continue to seek out opportunities to fulfill our motto ‘Service above Self’ and believe the Place Project is an excellent way to support our community.”

In addition to supporting the Place Project through the Downtown Weekend Warrior Program, the East Lansing Rotary Club generously contributed $5,000 towards the project’s crowdfunding campaign goal.

“We appreciate the East Lansing Rotary Club’s support of this exciting project for downtown, both by way of volunteer service and funding support,” said East Lansing Community & Economic Development Administrator Adam Cummins. “We hope to see community members mask up and come on out for some heated, outdoor dining this winter and early spring at the various public spaces we plan to activate.”

While masks are required both inside businesses and in outdoor public spaces in downtown East Lansing, masks can be removed when eating and drinking while seated at food service establishments or in the City’s outdoor dining spaces. In addition to mask requirements, community members should practice safe physical distancing from those that are not a part of their household and adhere to all other public health orders currently in place. Open alcohol will not be permitted in the City’s outdoor dining spaces at this time.

Outdoor heated dining will also be available at the Division Street Garage location or the plaza on the Marriott’s east side during the upcoming East Lansing Downtown Underground Market days, which will take place every other Sunday on the lowest level of the M.A.C. Avenue Garage through early May.

East Lansing Rotary Supports the City of East Lansing During the Global Pandemic

Chris Nugent, President-elect of the East Lansing Rotary and Peter Dewan, Board Member of the East Lansing Rotary Foundation presented a $5000 check to Adam Cummins, Community & Economic Development Administrator, City of East Lansing to support the Place Project.  The Place Project is an initiative created to help sustain and provide additional business support services in response to the significant economic consequences experienced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Place Project (Project) is part of a long-term economic development and recovery strategy that will help address some of the many social and economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Multi-disciplinary and experimental, the Place Project will prioritize public health and use simple, cost-effective tactical urbanism techniques to reactivate and enhance downtown public spaces by providing interesting, comfortable places for the community to safely gather and engage in the local economy.  Each location identified for the Project will be designed for social distancing, as applicable, to provide an environment for people to socialize safely, engage in the local economy, and get outdoors.  “East Lansing Rotary members are pleased to partner with the City of East Lansing as we navigate through these challenging times.  East Lansing Rotary members continue to seek out opportunities to fulfill our motto “Service above Self” and the Place Project is an excellent way to support our community”, said Peter Dewan.

Key areas of the downtown the Place Project will actively engage include: the MAC Parking Garage, the elevated plaza at the Marriott, the Division Street Garage, Ann Street Plaza, Bill Sharp Park and the 500 Block pedestrian alley.  Included in the programming will be pop-up Farmers’ markets, East Lansing library programs, Art Pop-up displays, safe public seating and warming areas among other community events.  Additional information about the Place Project can be found at https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1354.

Holiday Cheer at the Willows, Thanks to EL Rotary Club!

East Lansing, MI – The Rotary Club of East Lansing is providing some “holiday cheer” this year for the residents and staff of the Willows at East Lansing.
The Willows at East Lansing – part of Trilogy Healthcare Services, headquartered in Louisville, KY – opened its’ doors in 2014. The facility can serve up to 139 residents across all service lines, including: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Short-Term Rehab, Long-Term Care, and Respite Care.
Currently, The Willows at East Lansing is providing care for 22 residents in the Assisted Living program and 15 residents in Memory Care. These individuals have been isolated from their families and friends since March 2020 and have been quarantined several times since then, per orders from the governor and/or state health director.
“People across mid-Michigan have been affected in innumerable ways by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our club thought that it would be in keeping with Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” if we could pinpoint at least one way to brighten the lives of people in our community during these challenging and oftentimes trying times,” said Sung Lee, President of the Rotary Club of East Lansing.
“One idea that surfaced was to provide some ‘holiday cheer’ for the residents at The Willows and at the same time thank the staff there in some small way for all of their efforts to support the residents in their care,” said Lee.
He pointed out that the Rotary Club is providing assisted living care residents with “goodie bags” filled with an assortment of snacks and candies, a pocket calendar, a writing journal and a puzzle book and providing memory care residents with a variety of tasty treats. In addition, the club is providing twenty (20) $25 Meijer gift cards to be distributed to The Willows staff – nurses, nurses aides, housekeeping, maintenance, kitchen and administrative staff – via a special employee “blind” drawing to be held prior to Christmas. The gift cards can be used to purchase food, clothing, or other store items.
“This gesture by the Rotary Club is a big boost to our morale here at the Willows,” said The Willows Executive Director Keith Fisher. “Our staff has been working hard to insure the health and safety of our residents and this gesture by the Rotary Club is not only uplifting for everyone here; but most appreciated,” he said.
The Rotary Club of East Lansing has a long record of community service dating back to its formation in 1961. The Club currently has 48 members and has supported numerous community projects, including the children’s playground at Patriarche Park, the East Lansing softball fields and aquatic center and numerous upgrades and renovations at Haven House.
Photo: From left to right: Chris Nugent, E. Lansing Rotary President Elect; Erica Flegal, The Willows – Asst. Director of Health Services; Jessi Yeargin, The Willows – Weekend Supervisor; Sung Lee, E. Lansing Rotary President and Keith Fisher, The Willows – Executive Director.

Rotary Club of East Lansing Raises Funds for Haven House Thanksgiving

The Rotary Club of East Lansing held  a Community service event that began in 2009.  Since that time, the club had normally provided complete Turkey Dinners and Pumpkin Pies for the Thanksgiving celebration at the Haven House Shelter.  This year, unfortunately, the Covid-19 interrupted that tradition.   So, this year, the club asked for donations from their members and from the community, to raise funds for the Haven House. A total of $ 1,435 was raised that could be used to provide the five families that they are hosting in local hotels with hot Thanksgiving dinners.  Any additional funds raised can be used by Haven House as they see fit.

We would  like to thank our Rotarians who have generously contributed funds in support of this annual event once again.  Without your support, this important community service project would not be possible.

East Lansing Rotary Foundation

Scholarship Recipients



The Rotary Club of East Lansing, through its Foundation, is pleased to announce the award of “Joe Gross Memorial Scholarships” to five graduating seniors at East Lansing High School.

The scholarships, totaling $11,000, were presented to the following college-bound seniors: Jingting Lin who will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas Adelman who will be attending the University of Michigan, Sasha Bacon who will be attending Stanford University or the University of Michigan, Anna Comstock who will be attending the University of Michigan, and Madison Duncan who will be attending Hampton University.

These scholarships are awarded annually upon meeting several criteria that include: the student applicant’s involvement in the Community and related service activities; academic accomplishments; and financial need.  Individual scholarship amounts do vary and can range between $1,000 and $3,000.

Scholarship funds are raised through the East Lansing Rotary Foundation which holds an annual golf outing in September known as the “Scramble for Scholarships.”  Last September’s (2019) golf outing marked the 32nd  year for the event.  Over this period, the Rotary Club of  East Lansing and its Foundation have awarded nearly $161,000 in scholarships to assist graduating East Lansing High School seniors with their college expenses.  The scholarships are named for Joseph Gross who was a Rotary Club of East Lansing President and Governor of Rotary District 6360 who cared deeply about young people and their futures.

Many thanks to all the Community sponsors, donors and of course the golfers, that have supported these scholarship efforts throughout the years!

Anna Comstock
Madison Duncan
Jingting Lin
Sasha Bacon
Thomas Adelman

Kristin Shelley, Rotary Club Hero

Congratulations to the East Lansing Rotary Club Hero Kristin Shelley!

Kristin was chosen by the Board of Directors to be the East Lansing Rotary Club Hero at the recent District Conference. Kristin was honored during the final ceremony on Saturday, June 13. As detailed in the Hero Booklet:

Kristin Shelley is our Warm Heart. She has done lots of community work while she was the chair of Community Service Committee in East Lansing Rotary Club.

Now she has been providing Food Pantry at the library for local people during COVID-19 Pandemic. Her warm heart has embraced so many people from different countries in MSU and has welcomed them into our town.
She is our club hero. We are so proud of her.

Benard Oloo- “Echo of Services”

On Monday, October 21 we heard from Benard Oloo, a visiting scholar from Kenya and former President of the Rotaract Club of Egerton University. He is pictured on the left, next to President Elect Sung Lee.

Benard Oloo is currently a Borlaug Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University (September-November, 2019) with a focus on Food Safety & Security and Risk Assessment. He is a Lecturer of Food Science and Technology at the department of Dairy and Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Egerton University, Kenya. He is Vice Chairman of Kenya Institute of Food Technologists, and a member of Food Science and Technology Platform of Kenya. He is an awardee of Prestigious Emerging Leaders Network by Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) USA, 2017. He is an Ambassador for Global Harmonization Initiative of Food Standards, Based in Vienna, Austria, and he is also a Gold Award Holder of the President’s Award Scheme by the President of the republic of Kenya among other awards.

Mr. Oloo is an internationally certified Life Coach with Strategic Cell Ministries Kenya (SCMIKenya) and the Lifeforming Leadership Coaching, USA and runs Catalyze Beneficent Ltd. Mr. Oloo is also the Author of the sensational and inspiring book, “Essentials of Civilization’-Africa’s quest for Civilization and why your voice is the missing Link’’. He serves as a resident Life Coach and trainer at CoELIB incubation Centre, an Agri-business development incubation Hub located at Egerton University. Call him to your organization, Church or School for an Inspiring, Insightful and life transforming training, Group or individual coaching, and motivational talks.