Welcome to week three of the 2021 Alex’s Great State Race Gratitude Campaign! Let’s take a step back and remember the rivalry that is celebrated on the day of this wonderful event. Get a recap of the Campaign in our February 1st Ability Blog post.

Top image: Spartan and Wolverine football players head to head.  Bottom image: Army ROTC cadets from MSU and U-M running AGSR in 2016.
Top image: Spartan and Wolverine football players head to head. Bottom image: Army ROTC cadets from MSU and U-M running AGSR in 2016.

The Michigan State – Michigan football rivalry began in 1898, when MSU was known as Michigan Agricultural College and represented by the “Aggies” rather than Sparty. In the 1950s, MSU entered the Big Ten Conference, and the teams became conference rivals. Throughout the following decades-long rivalry, there has been plenty of heartbreak and resentment. But what we often forget to acknowledge are the opportunities for collaboration we are provided by having two world-class universities in our state, separated by only a few highways and barely an hour of driving (or about 10 hours of running, as we know at Alex’s Great State Race). Being so close, we often see rivalries turn to alliances…

… families split by team loyalty unite to throw elaborate tailgates

… high school friends accepted into two different universities cheer for opposing teams but gather for post-game pizza, congratulations, and condolences

… two top-notch universities work together to meet goals in research, education, and services for students with disabilities

After the 4th Alex’s Great State Race in 2017, participants Justice  Richard Bernstein and former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley present the official  rivalry game balls, joined by Army ROTC cadet runners.
After the 4th Alex’s Great State Race in 2017, participants Justice Richard Bernstein and former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley present the official rivalry game balls, joined by Army ROTC cadet runners.

Alex’s Great State Race has always focused on the collaborative spirit between MSU and U-M. While Alex Powell was attending MSU and working with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, he was also receiving treatment at the University of Michigan’s Cancer Center. See our week two post to learn more about Alex and his legacy.

While those who generously donate to Alex’s Great State Race choose which “side” to give to, everyone knows the overarching goal is not winning a competition, but to support students with disabilities. Donations sent to MSU go to the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, and those to U-M go to the Services for Students with Disabilities office. Funds provide tuition support, care packages, tutoring, and more.

Keep your eye on RCPD’s Ability Blog, U-M’s Services for Students with Disabilities page, as well as AGSR’s and RCPD’s social media accounts for stories coming this month:

Twitter: @Run4Alex, @MSU_RCPD

Instagram: @Run4Alex, @msurcpd

YouTube: MSURCPD

Alex’s Great State Race Facebook

RCPD Facebook

Alex’s Great State Race Website

University of Michigan’s Services for Students with Disabilities