Michigan state’s RCAH program helps students discover themselves

Rachel Brauer and Rachel Brauer

1By Staff Writer: Rachel Brauer

Walking through these old-fashioned wooden doors of Michigan State University, I felt my senior ego shrink. It was the prelude to college, and I was scared. I expected anything but the warmth I received from everyone there. The prestigious outer shell of the Snyder-Phillips shed to a comfy, home-like feel. As I was ushered into a lecture hall and sat attentively in the background, I listened to the recruitment coordinator, Lizzie King, speak. She was so animated and devoted to MSU and the RCAH program. Passion oozed through her eyes. It felt as though she was igniting my every wish and want regarding adulthood.

MSU has a fairly recent RCAH program (Residential College in the Arts and Humanities) that was created in 2007, with an intimate group of 300 members. The objective of the program is the inner discovery of the participating individual through arts and humanities, which includes dancing, acting, writing, photography, print, and music seminar, while also promoting the common good.

“It’s a huge support system,” says senior RCAH member Katie Rhodes, who has a great appreciation for the program.

The first two years, the curriculum is planned out for the students with the help of an advisor. It includes a wide variety of writing, culture, humanities, community engagement, and creative arts. Students must also participate in Wednesday Night Live events, where guest speakers present new ideas in open discussions that help inspire RCAH members to think and do different contemporary things in the arts and humanities. The third year, Elective Pathways, is where the students begin to specialize in their field of choice and employ in the act of individual research projects. The fourth level, Capstone Experience, is where the students start getting involved with advanced work and independent studying.

After the lecture, the visiting high school students were directed into different classrooms where we could consult and question professors and students about the program. The professors were just so enthusiastic about their work. It was obvious that they love their jobs and want to be there every day. I could see a tight bond between the students and professors. Since RCAH is a smaller community, it gives for a more personal interaction between the two, and more direct learning.  RCAH students commented on the relationship with much warmth.

When the discussion ended, I talked with some of the students one-on-one, and they were all so happy to answer any of my unanswered questions. They were all so down to earth and confident within themselves and their studies. It made me feel so comfortable and confident about my future. Because people my age are making their dreams come true. It was so inspirational.

Any HHS students who are interested in writing, history, or helping others should definitely check out the RCAH tab on the MSU website. It seems to be a great program to for students looking for an interactive curriculum.
“[RCAH] is like a family. [It’s] people who care about you and your future,” says Rhodes.