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Mt. Pleasant, MI

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Anyone familiar with the area and want to comment on it, give advice, etc.? My roommate is from Zeeland and says it's a nice town, but I'd like to hear from people who have lived there or at least been there.

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I spent 4 days in Mt. Pleasant last summer, if that's any help. I'm from SE Michigan/Ann Arbor.

It's not really much of a college town. The campus is quite drab, though there are some nice new buildings like the library. The surrounding area is really weird because of the Indiana reservation. West of campus is pretty much straight farmland, and east of campus is residential area/strip mall stretch. There is a downtown Mt. Pleasant which is pretty much your standard small town fare. It's not bad, but it's nothing terribly memorable.

There's an indian casino in town too, Soaring Eagle. Cost of living should be fine, though. Mt. Pleasant really isn't near anything besides Saginaw/Bay City/Midland. Grand Rapids is closer than Detroit or Lansing, but it's not a straight shot down.

If you have any specific questions, let me know.

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I spent 4 days in Mt. Pleasant last summer, if that's any help. I'm from SE Michigan/Ann Arbor.

It's not really much of a college town. The campus is quite drab, though there are some nice new buildings like the library. The surrounding area is really weird because of the Indiana reservation. West of campus is pretty much straight farmland, and east of campus is residential area/strip mall stretch. There is a downtown Mt. Pleasant which is pretty much your standard small town fare. It's not bad, but it's nothing terribly memorable.

There's an indian casino in town too, Soaring Eagle. Cost of living should be fine, though. Mt. Pleasant really isn't near anything besides Saginaw/Bay City/Midland. Grand Rapids is closer than Detroit or Lansing, but it's not a straight shot down.

If you have any specific questions, let me know.

Thanks for your response. It looks like CMU is going to be the highest place on my list I'll get into (except maybe Clark which is a mystery wrapped in an enigma...but that's another story). I did my undergrad at Auburn, so I'm used to the small-town sort of atmosphere and I don't mind that Mt. Pleasant is small and isolated. Is there enough plant/animal life around to make the campus interesting? Also, do you have any idea which part of the area near campus would be the best to live in (keeping in mind that I'm not going to be making very much).

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I did my undergrad at Auburn, so I'm used to the small-town sort of atmosphere and I don't mind that Mt. Pleasant is small and isolated.

I think my problem with Mt. Pleasant isn't that it's small, but that it is a small town surrounded by drab sprawl, if that makes sense. You drive down Pickard and it's mostly dull strip malls. You turn onto US-127 BUS towards campus and it's the same.

Is there enough plant/animal life around to make the campus interesting?

The campus itself is alright for this, but you really have to leave town and go east (or west, I suppose. Just not north or south) for some real plant/animal life.

Also, do you have any idea which part of the area near campus would be the best to live in (keeping in mind that I'm not going to be making very much).

That I can't give you a definite answer about, but I will say that the western portion of town (where downtown and CMU are) seems nicer than the eastern side (casino, airport). Mt. Pleasant has two main thoroughfares (Pickard and US-127 BUS). Most of the town gravitates along that axis.

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Anyone familiar with the area and want to comment on it, give advice, etc.? My roommate is from Zeeland and says it's a nice town, but I'd like to hear from people who have lived there or at least been there.

you're getting some good feedback from sankd, but i figured i'd add my two cents.

i've spent a little time in Mount Pleasant and on CMU's campus a few different times, over the last 15 years or so, and my first answer is, it's a lot like any place in Michigan with under 30,000 people in it. (got that from city-data.) what i mean is, it's big enough that the place is self-sufficient - you don't have to go 50 miles to buy an appliance, or furniture or something - but it doesn't have any of the characteristics of a big city. good or bad. as was already mentioned, if you drive out of town, after not long in any direction it's just farm land. the casino is a plus for some people, but i don't care much for it. as for where to live, i have no specific intel - but most places like this in MI run the same way; there's definitely a student ghetto somewhere, i'm sure there are terrible over-priced student apartments somewhere, and the real rent deals are probably found in single-family dwellings a bit away from campus. this is the sort of place that's suffered from foreclosures and falling home prices, so with a little work on your part you can probably find a steal, if you're willing to live in a slightly shabby (but not at all dangerous) family neighborhood.

two things to keep in mind about Mount Pleasant: one, there are as many students at CMU as there are residents of the city, which partly means a lot of students technically live in a neighboring township or commute to campus, but also means the university is THE defining presence in the city. two, i can't speak to the bus system, which is probably small but serviceable, but you will not be able to go ANYWHERE outside MP without a CAR, or a friend with a car. Michigan operates on cars. there's no reasonably-prices intercity transport anywhere in the state.

finally, i really like the campus.

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I think my natural inclination to hate on the actual CMU campus is part of being an EMU alum. I agree with all of that, though, especially the last. Michigan is a state that hates mass transportation - though the bus system in Washtenaw County isn't terrible.

Also, from my earlier post.. Indian reservation. Not Indiana. The state must be infecting my brain after two years.

Edited by sankd

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Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm really hoping I'll get to visit there before I start in the fall, so.

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Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm really hoping I'll get to visit there before I start in the fall, so.

Plus, you'll spend a year or more in Europe anyway.

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I spent four years at CMU. The campus is nice and compact so no matter where you park, it is always relatively easy to get to class. As others have said the casino is the main attraction. I never gambled much, but the buffet is usually very good. There really is not much to do in Mount Pleasant except go to the bars or Walmart. Unfortunately the towns around Mount Pleasant are no better. East Lansing is about an hour south, so the nearest large city is not too far. As far as student housing goes the apartments in Mt. Pleasant are dirt cheap, so your stipend should go far. Unfortunately Central Michigan University is not the Carnegie Mellon University of the west, and your neighbors in these apartments will be loud, obnoxious drunk and high. At CMU there is no way to avoid it. Avoid anything owned by United Apartments though. There is not really much to say about Mount Pleasant. If you have any specific questions I'll try to see if I can remember more.

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Any particular advice on where I should live? I'd prefer a 1 bed apartment if possible...I don't mind if it looks like something from the old USSR as long as it's cheap. I'll be living off $13k

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Mt Pleasant, as previous posters have said, is not the most exciting town. However, if you're an outdoors kind of person, they have a terrific park system with walking and biking trails connecting several parks in town. They also have a decent disc golf course by campus that's also a park. There's also a few lakes around that's good fishing during the summer, and a groomed cross-country ski trail for the winter. There's also farmer's markets during the weekends and some week days, and community events like art fairs and music fairs during the summer. For a small town, it's not that bad, but don't expect city life from it. The university also has music and theater events, and a pretty good gym.

PM me if you have any other questions.

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My two cents:

 

1) The town sucks.  I have lived in multiple college towns in my life and this is by far the worst one.  There's literally nothing to do, ever.  There are no good places to eat.  No interesting events.  No malls.  No good outdoor activities.  Anyone who thinks hiking here is good is full of crap.  I've been to urban areas with better, longer, prettier hiking than this town, despite it being in the middle of nowhere.  Oh, and we have a "river."  It's like 3 inches deep, smells like shit, and is full of sharp rocks, bugs, animals, and branches, and it cracks me up every summer watching college students try to float down the river in inner tubes.  There are always inner tubes ripped to shreds snagged on piles of branches, sprinkled with shattered beer bottles from the frat douches who litter all the way down the river.

 

2) The demographics suck.  Because this is a university with just a handful of tiny graduate programs, there are very few people above the age of 21 in the entire city (besides families).  Wanna date?  Better be okay with dating children.  And online dating isn't much better; still all children.  Want night life?  There are like 3 bars half-worth going to, and they are swimming with undergrads; hide in a booth with your grad school friends screaming over the deafening pop-country and pray the students you TA for don't run into you.

 

3) The price sucks.  Mt. Pleasant, for its po-dunk size, is astonishingly expensive.  I have lived in cities with hundreds of thousands of residents and found rent for cheaper than in Mt. Pleasant.  And oh, you want heat?  Have fun paying +$200 each month to prevent frostbite.  The food is also ridiculously expensive; I've lived in larger cities with far cheaper, far tastier, far more varied fare.  And oh yea, you better like Applebees.  All you're getting here is boring American chains, no interesting local restaurants or cafes.  Well, maybe one or two, but they are crazy expensive.

4) The location sucks.  You are literally hours away from anything else interesting (not even interesting wilderness, because everything is just flat farmland for miles and miles), except maybe Lansing, and even that is over an hour away.  Also, even if you did drive several hours to the lake or something, it's just a LAKE.  Nothing compared to literally any beach I've been to in the entire world.  And our biggest nearby city is Detroit, which is America's largest ghost town.

 

5) The weather sucks.  Do you like 15-minutes-to-frostbite temperatures?  Welcome to Mt. Pleasant, where it's below freezing for the majority of the year and has one of the lowest amounts of annual sunlight of any city in the country.  And we're broke, so don't expect clear roads in the winter.  We can't afford the salt to clear it.

6) The culture sucks.  You'll live in the shadow of a midwestern party school with no discernable community outside of the undergraduate bloc.  And it's practically a commuter campus.  It's a ghost town on the weekends because everyone goes home.  Nobody, not even the students, wants to be here.

7) The campus sucks.  Nothing every happens except for loud, drunken undergraduate parties (and those also happen all over town off-campus.  Enjoy trying to sleep Thursday-Saturday).  And there are no trees on campus.  None.  It's just an ugly, flat wasteland.  I've worked at multiple university campuses; Mt. Pleasant is by far the ugliest.

 

 

There's more, but who cares.

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Wow. Lots of hate here for Mount Pleasent. I'm on my phone, so I'll be brief but I can elaborate more if anybody wants it.

Spent 4 years in MP. For context, I grew up in Traverse City and have lived in Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia, California, Colorado, Iraq and South Korea.

Mount Pleasent is what you make of it. There is plenty to do if you look and the Student Activity Center is great. Get involved in local organizations. Go 'Up North' for the weekend and find ski hills an hour away. Enjoy the nature preserve 15 minutes north in Clare. Get Cabin Sticks at the Cabin (great pizza) or a microbrew downtown. Head to a football game and get in for free with your student ID. Rent camping gear from the RPL department or hit up the high ropes course or climbing wall in Finch.

As long as you don't expect to be catered to, you can find things to do. I enjoyed all four of my years there.

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Thanks so much, The_Space_Cowboy! I have been looking at apartments in Mt. Pleasant. Do you have any suggestions on places I should look at or avoid? I will likely be living alone with my small dog (unless I can find a roommate who won't mind him), and my top choices so far are Canterbury East and Forum. I would love to live at Stonecrest, but it's too expensive.

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Thanks so much, The_Space_Cowboy! I have been looking at apartments in Mt. Pleasant. Do you have any suggestions on places I should look at or avoid? I will likely be living alone with my small dog (unless I can find a roommate who won't mind him), and my top choices so far are Canterbury East and Forum. I would love to live at Stonecrest, but it's too expensive.

 

For the love of God don't rent from United. That's all I can really tell you. Some of your best deals are gonna be things like what my fiancee and I did the second year of my M.A., which was to rent part of a house (we had the upstairs and another couple had the downstairs). It was a little ways away from campus so I had to drive, which wasn't the best, but it was a nice, quiet place to live and was entirely reasonable budget-wise even on a humanities student's stipend...

 

I'll second The Cabin, best pizza in town by far and great drink specials (thankfully it's a reasonable walk from most places). Another couple of places I'd recommend would be The Bird, which is the best bar in Mount Pleasant by far (though it can get crowded and I have seen them have to turn people away because of fire code on the weekends, so don't get there too late) and Mountain Town, where you can get stuff from the brewery and eat on the porch next to the river. Speaking of, tubing or walking or kayaking along the river in the city parks is also a great way to spend an afternoon. The city has a really great park system; personally, I spent a lot of time out there birdwatching, but there's plenty of other stuff to do too. 

 

That said, the poster above isn't entirely off base...Mount Pleasant can be boring because of how small it is, the winters are very cold and windy, and most of the area around Mount Pleasant is pretty empty and desolate. If you get bored, Lansing is like an hour away though. You can get to the Detroit area in less than three hours, and some of the more touristy stuff (like Frankenmuth and the Renaissance Fair in Holly) are only a couple hours away as well. I guess one of the main problems is if you need to find sort of dressier clothes (like for a conference or whatever), that can be a problem since Mount Pleasant doesn't really have a mall as such. Like the gangster of love said, though, it really is what you make of it. I did my undergrad in a small college town too, and I'm from a pretty small town in the south, so I enjoyed it. If you're from a big city, maybe not so much.

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I lived in MP for 4 years and spent 2 years in the dorm and 2 in apartments. I lived in one owned by Henkel for a year and it was really cheap but it took them forever to respond to requests to fix things, specifically our plumbing. Also rent didn't include utilities, internet, or cable. The next year I lived in a complex owned by United and never had any problems. This was my favorite place to live because it was modern, quiet, and a lot of families lived here. Rent did include internet, cable, and a gym membership. I know a few people who have had problems with United, but I really think it depends on the complex you live in. If you don't want to be in a party area, avoid houses on Main or really any that are North Campus, Deerfield apts, and Lexington Ridge. CMU does have graduate housing which might be worth looking into.  If you want to find roommates or rent from someone who is subleasing, there is a Facebook group called CMU housing sublets & roommates that you can join. 

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I went to CMU for my undergrad degree and am applying there for my SLP Master's as well. It's in the middle of rural central Michigan; if you're used to a big city, you might be bored. I personally grew up in a much smaller town and was excited to have more than two traffic lights and to be able to walk places lol. The campus does have a bus system to and from multiple places on campus and many apartment complexes; however, I would strongly recommend having a car as the buses aren't always on time and you'll need it to do most other things (get groceries/go anywhere in town/etc). Also, the closest "real" airport is in Grand Rapids, about an hour and a half away.

I personally lived at CasaLoma (through AMG housing, same owners as Lexington) both years that I was out of the dorms and never had any problems with my landlord or getting things fixed; other than a once a year utility fee we only paid for electric and gas heating. However, I've known many people who have lived in apartments through United (Deerfield and Jamestown are some of the cheapest) who also never had any problems. Lexington and Deerfield and West Campus Village tend to have more parties (at least during my time at CMU [2017-2021]). North campus and the houses nearby are where the frats and sororities are and it can be loud there as well. Rent is definitely more affordable than East Lansing/Grand Rapids/etc. I would second what kotov said about the Cabin, the Bird, and Mountain Town being good for food/drinks.

For weather, it gets cold in the winter (it's one of the flatter areas of MI, so the wind chill can get pretty bad) but the snow isn't much worse than southern MI (however, I grew up in northern MI so I'm used to more snow). Campus is also relatively spread out and parking near your class can be hard to find from 10am-3:30pm, so I would definitely invest in a good winter coat + boots for the "spring" semester as there's almost always snow from about early December to mid-March (and last year, there was snow from Halloween to early April). I would also recommend a good raincoat and rainboots as the fall and spring can be relatively rainy and there is often slush for a while in the spring before it really starts to warm up. Overall, it's a great, safe mid-sized town in my opinion and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there for undergrad. However, the size of the town and the fact that it does get unpredictable and cold Michigan weather are two factors to take into account. 

Also, if you're into nature/etc., I would recommend going either to west MI or northern MI once or twice on a weekend/on semester break/etc. MP is about two and a half hours from the Mackinaw Bridge (where the "hand" of MI meets the upper peninsula), about an hour and a half from Ludington, and about two hours from Traverse City. If you like camping, hiking, or the Great Lakes, it's definitely worth the drive (especially in the late spring through the fall)! There's also plenty of parks in Isabella County along the Chippewa River that are only a few minutes' drive from campus that make it easy to find time in nature. 

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