Starry Night Event A Success

Despite the snowy weather and the flu bug going around, we had a great crowd at the February 12th reception and show at Abrams Planetarium for our exclusive APA member event.   Initially planned as a social event for members and a guest to mingle after hours, the event provided an educational component in a relaxing setting.  Attendees were blown away by the new Digistar 6 star projector which added a whole new dynamic to the program.


“It’s been years since my last visit to Abrams Planetarium and I was just as impressed with the show as I was as a kid!” said Paula Palmiter, APA member.  “It was especially nice to attend the reception prior to the show and chat with other APA members.  I appreciate these social events that the APA Union holds as I believe it builds member unity and provides an opportunity to have some fun and connect with fellow union members.  Well done APA!”  

Area Representative (AR) Spotlight – Anna-Marie A. Rodriguez-Pelizzari

What is your job title?

Business Analyst


What area of campus, building and department do you work in?

East side of campus. East Fee Hall is my HQ, but some of my team is at Collins Rd, so I am over there now and then too.  I am in IT and service the Medical Schools; COM, CHM, CVM and CON.  My Primary assignment is COM.


How long have you been at MSU?  3 yrs


How long have you been an Area Rep? This is my first year.


Why is being a member of the Union important to you?  Being a part of something bigger; something that believes in making a change for the better with programs, initiatives, information, assistance, and much more.


What words of advice do you have for the new hires at MSU?  Learn about all of the resources available and benefit options, from MSU, and the Union.  You have more at your fingertips than you know!  I’ve been here 3 years, and I’m still finding offerings and benefits about which I was unaware.


What do you love about working at MSU?  The diversity, flexibility and the opportunities.


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Cat Behaviorist, TNR, and Rescue





The APA and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

In light of some of the discussions that occurred at the APA Town Halls in February, we wanted to let you know that APA does a lot of behind the scenes work in many area of campus and thought it would be helpful to know how APA has a voice on the EAP Advisory Board.  Leo Sell, MSU APA Executive Board member shares his thoughts below.


According to Sell, “many of you are probably aware that MSU offers a no-cost, short-term, confidential counseling service with our in-house Employee Assistance Program (EAP) The therapists are all part of the APA and are very dedicated to providing health-based services to their clientele.”


“While the program is fairly well known, what’s not wildly known is that the service has provided general guidance and advice from an advisory board of longstanding. While the EAP Advisory Committee does not provide actual oversight, it does provide critical feedback about the needs of the campus community, guidance on current and future services, and general discussion. So events like those in our recent MSU history that are causing a great deal of individual and institutional stress are an active item of discussion so far as the mental health support needs that arise.”


The APA has had a seat at this table as a member of the committee for more than 25 years. Leo Sell, current APA Executive Board member states he “commenced representing our members long ago when I was chair and president of the APA, and for a number of years I served very actively as chairperson for the EAP Advisory Committee. My motivation in serving on the committee was both personal, as there were needs within my family that had made me very aware of the importance of services like this, and professionally as I recognized the need to make sure we had an association voice in the critical roles of providing services and properly protecting confidentiality.”


The APA is one of many constituencies that are expressly represented on the committee. Each union, faculty, other key committees (such as the Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff (WACSS), Work Life office, and many more all have a voice.


Lastly, Sell reports “I highly encourage any member who is in need of the EAP services to freely and confidently do so.”


Be a Tourist In Your Own Town, June 2nd

We invite APA members who are new (or not so new) to MSU or the Greater Lansing area to feel more included in the community by attending the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (GLCVB) 24th annual “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town” event on Saturday, June 2nd from 10:00am-5:00pm.  The APA is tagging onto an existing showcase event designed to create awareness of campus and local attractions.  Members would have over 90 attractions to choose from which in the past have ranged from kid-friendly like Potter Park Zoo and Impression 5 Science Center to others geared more towards adults, with breweries and various museums.

The APA will make available 200 passports for the event free of charge for members.  APA members in good standing can order up to 2. If members need additional passports they can purchase for $1 each directly from one of the passport selling locations.

This unique event brings together 15,000 residents and visitors who come out to enjoy the day, to explore and discover what makes Greater Lansing so great. This passport allows attendees into all the participating area attractions, hot spots and one-of-a-kind tours throughout the region for free on the day of the event. The list of participating attractions is still being developed by the GLCVB so check their website for further updates

To order APA Passports (maximum of 2):

Email Tamela Smith, APA Area Rep at:
Subject Line: Be A Tourist Passport Order
Indicate if you would like 1 or 2 passports
Give your legal name so we can verify APA membership


Last day to order passports will be May 15.  Passports will be available on a first-come-first service basis or until we are sold out.

Passports must be picked up by the APA member:

May 22 at the APA Picnic, 4:30-7:00pm, Patriarche Park, 960 Alton, East Lansing 48823

May 23 and 24th 12:00pm-1:00pm outside the Greater Lansing Visitor’s Center, 549 E. Grand River, East Lansing 48823 (near Grand River & Bailey).

The day of the event we plan to have a couple “meet up” points for APA members at designated times and locations.  This list will be finalized once the GLCVB finalizes the attractions. Information on APA meet up points will be distributed with the passports.  


This month’s question: Name the most popular flavor of ice cream sold at the MSU Dairy Store?  

Email your answer to Sue Brandt at by May 4, 2018.  Limit of one guess per person.  Two members* who correctly answer the trivia question will be randomly drawn to win various prizes.  Winners will be announced in the next newsletter.

Congratulations to last month’s winners randomly drawn from those who answered correctly:  

Jennie Russell – $50 Wharton Center Gift Card

Mikala Rioux – MEA APA bag with goodies  

Last month’s question: How many players can MSU baseball coach Jake Boss, Jr. have out on the field at one time when the other team is up to bat?  
Answer:   9

* Must be an APA member in good standing to win.

Board Members, Area Representatives and Communications Committee Members are not eligible to win.


Meet Debbie Hurst, a Fellow APA Member

What is your job title?

Risk Management and Insurance Coordinator.


How long have you been at MSU?

I started at MSU in August of 1990. I had a six-year break in service from the fall of 1999 to August of 2005. I was a stay-at-home mom during that period.


Have you been a member of the APA the whole time?

No. I became a member in November of 2005.


What department do you work in, and can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

I work for Risk Management and Insurance. I am the claims adjuster for non-litigated claims, which would include automobile, property, and general liability claims. I am also involved in the underwriting process to place policies for the University and participate in loss prevention education and activities.


What brought you to your job at MSU?

Career opportunity, benefits, and cultural opportunities.


What do you love about working at MSU?

I love MSU. Period. I like being a part of seeing new Spartans arriving on campus in the fall; I like seeing families coming for visits and tours; I have great pride in Spartan Athletics.


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Crafts of any variety including sewing and crocheting. I love to bake and have family dinners.

MSU to Offer Voluntary Prescription Drug Copay Assistance Program

Michigan State University (MSU) is making a change to its prescription drug plan effective

May 1, 2018, for a subset of specialty medications.


A manufacturer’s voluntary copay assistance program will be available for specific specialty medications. Copays for those specific specialty medications will increase. However, the copay assistance program may offset this increase, resulting in the amount paid dropping to as low as $0 to $15, as an example.


The program targets a subset of specialty medications and adjusts the copay to a higher amount. The drug manufacturer covers most of that amount by enrolling the patient in its assistance program. This generally results in a lower copay for the patient and lowers the cost MSU pays for that specific medication. If you participate in this program, your copay will not be greater than the current $50.


Participation in this copay assistance program is voluntary. If members choose not to enroll, their copay for the specific specialty medication will remain at $50 for the rest of 2018.


What Happens Next?

In April, CVS Caremark will send a letter to patients who have current prescriptions of the specialty medications where a copay assistance program exists. Patients who wish to enroll can do so online directly with the drug manufacturer of the specific medication or call CVS Caremark at 1-800-565-7105. A CVS pharmacist can help explain the copay assistance amount and can provide information on the enrollment process.


Once enrolled, the patient will continue to fill prescriptions as usual.


In the future, CVS Caremark will identify specialty medications that may qualify at the time the patient fills the prescription and will ask the patient if he/she wishes to enroll.


Patients should continue to fill prescriptions for specialty medications as usual through the CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy or the CVS Specialty Pharmacy. If you have any additional questions you can call Customer Care at 1-800-565-7105.