Graduate student life

Enjoy rewarding experiences outside of the lab

When you're not participating in groundbreaking research at FRIB, you'll find plenty of opportunities for fun and friendship at Michigan State University and in the surrounding community.

Participate in activities outside of research to have a well-rounded, rewarding experience overall. There are great opportunities to meet people on campus and across the Lansing area. Whether you’re interested in gardening, cooking, traveling, socializing, team sports, watching sports, video games, board games, painting, reading, skiing, snowboarding, golf, yoga, martial arts, playing cards, fishing, or any other activities, you’ll find people with similar interests. Below is a list of some of the hobby and activity groups at MSU. Look online (Facebook, Instagram, community websites, etc.) for local groups sharing your same interests.

Popular organizations and clubs for FRIB students

Graduate students at FRIB participate in several student organizations and clubs, including:

The Physics Choir features students, faculty and physicists who sing together for fun. They typically perform once a semester at departmental gatherings.

Check out the MSU Campus Life website to get a better look at the more than 1,000 student organizations available to MSU students. Then, start balancing your research time with enriching social activities.

Events and outreach to spark your creativity and community service

FRIB students can participate in events like Art Afternoons, where artistically inclined scientists get together weekly to create art. The event is open to MSU scientists at every level: undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, staff, and faculty. The Women and Minorities in the Physical Sciences (WaMPS) graduate student organization coordinates several activities that let you give back to the community, like hosting science demonstrations in local schools.

Other events include FRIB potlucks, barbecues, and ice cream and bagel socials—great opportunities to get to know your fellow researchers.

Life in greater Lansing

The Lansing region is a nice place to live with a low cost of living. Home to MSU and the state capital, the region offers many cultural, sporting, and outdoor activities. Beyond Lansing, you’re always only a short drive away from a Great Lake and other recreational, dining, and cultural opportunities Michigan offers. Larger metropolitan areas can be reached by car, bus, or train: Chicago is approximately a four-hour drive and Toronto is approximately a five-hour drive.

The Capital Area District Library system, with many area locations, and the East Lansing Public Library allow you to easily access free books, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. The libraries also host a wide variety of regular events.

There are a variety of outdoor activities across Michigan, including golf resorts and courses, hiking trails, ski resorts, disc-golf courses, and rock-climbing spots.

Lansing's central location puts you within a short drive of many music venues, from Detroit to Grand Rapids in Michigan, and several in surrounding states (such as Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). There are also seasonal events and festivals across the area, many in smaller towns, including classic car shows, parades, and much more.

Other activities and destinations include:

  • Gaming/collectibles stores for all sorts of interests (including comic books, board games, role-playing games, and collectible trading card games)
  • Restaurants, bars, and clubs showcasing a variety of cuisine and events
  • Locally-run bookstores and cafes
  • Houses of worship for different faiths and denominations

U.S. News and World Report named Lansing as No. 3 in the “Best Places to Live in Michigan,” one of the “Best Places to Live in the U.S.,” and one of the “Best Places to Retire in the U.S.” in its 2023-2024 rankings. In its 2024 “Best School Districts in Michigan,” Niche listed two Lansing-area school districts in the top 20: Okemos School District at No. 4 and East Lansing School District at No. 19.