Mid-Michigan College received the 2019 Key Partner Award from Michigan State University Extension during the annual conference held in Traverse City in late October

, Communications

Michigan State University Extension awarded Dr. Christine Hammond, president of Mid Michigan College, with a 2019 Key Partner Award on Oct. 29 in Traverse City. The Key Partner Award recognizes those that have made significant contributions to support and promote MSU Extension programs.

Mid Michigan College, often referred to as Mid, is based in Harrison, Michigan. President Hammond is always looking for collaborative opportunities to help improve the community, making Mid an ideal partner for MSU Extension.

“I'm so pleased that Mid Michigan College is able to partner with an organization like MSU Extension, a premier organization in our state that has led in so many ways,” said Hammond. “Mid's mission is really to empower learners, and to transform our communities. We know that Spartans will always try to do that as well, and so as our two learning organizations work together. We think that we can do amazing things on behalf of the people we serve.”

Though Mid and MSU Extension have collaborated for some time, the partnership really strengthened in recent years. In 2016, the Clare County MSU Extension office was having a difficult financial year. During that time, Hammond reached out to MSU Extension, inquiring if there was anything Mid could do to help.

A “pilot” partnership was developed, in which Mid financially supports the efforts of MSU Extension in exchange for increased engagement between both organizations. The return on investment for Mid meant additional exposure of Mid’s campus to youth and families in the area and an expansion of adult learning opportunities for the community.

“We've made a commitment to really have a lot of our 4-H programming at the Harrison campus,” said Shari Spoelman, MSU Extension district director, who nominated Mid for the award. “We've also done some programming for families to bring them in so that they start to understand what a college campus looks like, and they feel comfortable there.”

This innovative partnership was a win-win, allowing both organizations to build and improve their programs for the benefits of the community. Outcomes include enhanced youth program opportunities with new program offerings, such as Science Blast, Winter Blast and Summer Camp Blast. The collaboration also includes opportunities such as Mid’s Lifelong Learning program and MSU Extension’s Mock Interview Day, a workforce preparation event for high school students.

Since 2016, the partnership between MSU Extension and Mid has continued to grow and provide great benefits for Clare County’s 4-H program, in particular. MSU Extension has reached a new audience with new opportunities, with the help of Hammond and the rest of her team at Mid. Programs include a winter SPIN club where Mid’s hiking trails and park area were utilized, an Officer Roles and Parliamentary Procedure workshop, and many workshops for animal projects such as horse ownership, biosecurity and nutrition. The Clare County 4-H Wood & Crafters Club even holds their weekly meetings in a shop area that Mid has offered.

Hammond received the Key Partner Award alongside four other outstanding MSU Extension partners. Partnerships are critical to MSU Extension’s efforts to help people across the state improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge and resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses.

 
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