As Michigan State seniors remain uncertain about the status of their commencement ceremonies that were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, two seniors have given their Spartan class of 2020 an inspirational message.
Marketing seniors Meghan Provenzano and Abby Henzi painted The Rock on Farm Lane on Tuesday to read, “WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! CLASS OF 2020."
“We just wanted our Spartans at home to have a little hope and know that we really are all in this together,” Provenzano said. “ ... We hope this gives Spartans and everyone in our community a reminder that this is just temporary, and with everyone doing their part, the sooner we can continue to make more memories on this campus.”
Provenzano said she thought it would be a good idea for someone to carry on the legacy of painting The Rock while the campus remained empty.
“I’ve always valued tradition, and painting The Rock was one thing I wanted to check off my bucket list before I graduated,” Provenzano said. “ ... I was walking on campus just trying to reminisce on my years here and I thought, ‘What a better time than now to paint The Rock.’”
After hearing about the university's decision to cancel in-person classes, Provenzano and Henzi said they felt sad their senior year had been cut short, but that they are staying strong and optimistic for the future.
“We’ll get through this. Spartans will, we always will,” Provenzano said. “We’re strong and resilient. That’s the epitome of being a Spartan.”
The two, accompanied by Grand Valley State senior Kelsey Estes, decorated The Rock with colorful letters, peace signs, flowers and hearts — a representation they said they hope will keep Spartans cheerful during this unprecedented time.
“The most important thing right now is to keep spirits high and stay positive,” Provenzano said. “Of course, you can’t relive your senior year, but there’s a bunch of things in this world that people are dealing with right now. I think staying positive and making the most of what we do have left is important.”
They offered potential scenarios, like some day being able to walk during commencement or returning to MSU for homecoming as alumni, as future opportunities they said they are using to get through this difficult period.
“I was ready to live out these last two months,” Provenzano said. " ... But thanks, Michigan State, for not only my education, but the memories I’ve made here. I’ll always look back and think of this as the best four years of my life.”
Editor's Note: This article was updated at 1:50 p.m. to correct an attribution.