David Brigode, JMC '73
I attended JMC at MSU from the fall of 69 to spring of 73. I lived in Snyder- Phillips the first two years. I graduated from JMC with an Area of Concentration in Social Psychology. 30 years later I attended the first JMC reunion back in East Lansing. A Web site of remembrances and comments was proposed. This is my contribution to the collective memory bank.
As a freshmen I consistently found myself in small classes of 8-12 people, taught by full professors. Topics included encounter groups, social stratification, symbolic logic, cross-cultural anthropology, a great deal of independent study, and a general approach much deeper than the average university courses. The fact that most classes were in the basement of Snyder meant that course discussions continued into the lobby, the cafeteria, and dorm rooms late into the night.
We had ample opportunity to pursue our interests through studies both within JMC and in the University at large. I took a university advanced chemistry class just to exercise my brain. I also took courses in Chinese calligraphy; independent study in Astrophysics; and enrolled in a class in agricultural mechanics in which I learned how to arc-weld.
It was very common for people to take advantage of the JMC experience for their first two years. The bulk of the program was front-loaded in that manner; one could then transfer into a specific university program for the last two years. I believe that the number of people who benefited from the JMC experience far outnumber those who technically graduated with JMC on their sheepskin. Some people expressed concern about the JMC Pass/NoPass grading system; However, I have never in my life been asked for my college GPA.
I don't think that what I observed around me was necessarily that crazy, or that students now a days are more personally conservative. It was a time of polarization and change, like a storm front resulting from the meeting of hot and cold climates. If you remember that for many high schools in the 60's the biggest issue was guys growing Beatle haircuts, then you realize in hindsight what an innocent time that was.
Was service in the military, and injury and death in combat, disproportionately a burden for people who couldn't go to college? Absolutely, and don't let anybody tell you differently.
Concerts: Fall of 69 "The Association"; Spring of 70 "Jefferson Airplane" Quelle difference.
Dorm rooms had the Moody Blues (Days of Future Passed) , King Crimson, James Taylor, Grateful Dead tapes, Santana (Abraxas) , All the music from Woodstock, Led Zeppelin, Late Beatles, Rolling Stones (Beggars Banquet); Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who (Live at Leeds), the Doors. J.S. Bach late at night in the winter. FireSign Theater. Jefferson Airplane (Volunteers)
I now appreciate the effort of the taxpayers of Michigan to support a system they could not necessarily benefit from themselves. Certainly, the collapse of the Michigan economy in the mid-70's demonstrated that society was not yet ready for the Aquarian Millenium, and that the idealists actually needed those assembly-line jobs they'd had been trying to free themselves from.
Supporting myself as a housepainter of the Victorian houses around town, I worked for ten years as a community organizer on housing issues. I founded the San Francisco Tenants Union; organized rent control campaigns, and generally helped achieve real progress while working with minimal resources.
By 1984, I had earned a Master's in Public Administration from San Francisco State and was managing non-profit affordable housing. Ten years ago I became a non- profit housing developer of apartments for homeless and mentally ill people.
In 1990 I finally got married, and have 4 children. In 1997, I moved north 48 miles to the small town of Sonoma in the Wine Country.
I am currently the Housing Director for Sonoma County People for Economic Opportunity, overseeing emergency and transitional shelters for homeless families; case management for homeless families; emergency rental assistance programs; Fair Housing enforcement; and affordable housing development.
I do not know how history will judge this era, or the roles we played. However, I perform my duty in leaving these recollections for others to sort through.