Timeline - May 14, 1857
Date: May 14, 1857
Title: Classes and Student Labor Began on May 14, 1857
Description: The next day classes and a pioneering experiment in advanced education began. Over the next few weeks 18 students were added to the original 63, and the boarding hall was filled to capacity, with four young men to a room. Life was without amenities. Each room in the Boarding Hall was heated by a pot-bellied stove. There was no running water, no electric lights, no telephones, no indoor toilets or bath facilities. The school had no gymnasium or athletic program. There were no local restaurants or theaters. And, there were no coeds.
Students attended classes for four hours each morning, and then performed three hours required labor on campus in the afternoon. Work included chopping down trees, wrenching stumps from the ground using ox-power, splitting rails, building fences, laying tiles to drain swampy areas, repairing the leaking roof of College Hall, and helping build four faculty homes. Pay ranged from five to ten cents an hour.
From The Spirit of Michigan State, by J. Bruce McCristal