Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Area residents, alumni offering support to MSU students after shooting

February 22, 2023
<p>Moms scattered throughout campus offering “Free Mom Hugs” to anyone that needed the extra comfort on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, for Spartan Sunday - an event organized by alumni and Spartan parents to welcome students and faculty back to campus. “This is love and strength, this is making our community stronger,” said Thuy Sabo, an alumni and Spartan parent.</p>

Moms scattered throughout campus offering “Free Mom Hugs” to anyone that needed the extra comfort on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, for Spartan Sunday - an event organized by alumni and Spartan parents to welcome students and faculty back to campus. “This is love and strength, this is making our community stronger,” said Thuy Sabo, an alumni and Spartan parent.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

On Feb. 13, a mass shooting on Michigan State University's campus took away many students' idea of safety. 

Locals and alumni then flocked to any social media site they could think of to offer a hand — whether it was in the form of a place to stay for a few days, a cup of coffee or even just emotional support. 

If you are an MSU student looking for comfort, feel free to contact any of the people below. 

MSU 2020 alumna Lily Rzepkowski is an East Lansing resident who attends law school in Lansing and taught in the East Lansing Public School District. Therefore, she says, her connection to the area is deep-rooted.

“'I’ve definitely been connected with the community and have loved East Lansing ever since I came for undergrad,” Rzepkowski said.  

She heard about the shooting Monday night and her initial reaction was full of shock, fear and disbelief. Rzepkowski said she can feel the lasting impact the mass shooting will have on the university.

“I just could not believe that this was happening in my home at MSU where I live,” she said. 

She is looking to help out MSU students because she can relate — Rzepkowski still goes to bars and restaurants in downtown East Lansing, and she has friends and people she knows still at the university. She is a part of the community itself. 

“I felt I'm still so connected, and I have a role to play to help fellow Spartans,” Rzepkowski said. "I feel that I have a little bit more lifestyle security that I want to be able to be there for anybody, not just in the next week or two or month, or even year. I really would have wanted someone younger, who I feel more comfortable with, who is part of this generation to help me if I was a student at Michigan State during an incident like this." 

Rzepkowski is offering a ride to the airport, a place for students off-campus to spend time to do their homework, a listening ear for anyone who wants to talk about their emotions, a home-cooked meal and any other support. 

"I just want to give back to the community, support my Spartans and really just care for anybody, whether they were a friend visiting a student, faculty, anything," Rzepkowski said. "I really want to be part of the reason why we can overcome this.”

Rzepkowski can be contacted at lilyrzepkowski@gmail.com or on Facebook and Instagram @lilyrzepkowski.

MSU alumna Naomi Glogower attended MSU for her undergraduate and graduate degree. She is a local in the East Lansing/Lansing community, and first heard about the shooting Monday after the gunman entered Berkey Hall, she said. This situation made her feel hopeless and helpless. 

Glogower said she had to have a difficult conversation with her three children on Tuesday morning about what was going on, something she didn’t anticipate ever having to do. 

She wanted to do something to help students and thought of what she had to offer. 

“Not everyone is privileged enough to be able to go to a home or they might not even really have a good home to return to," Glower said. "I just thought if I can help in any way — maybe I could offer my house to someone ... we could be a family for someone to have a little bit of respite from being on campus in this nightmare situation." 

She is offering a home-cooked meal for students, an opportunity to spend time with her kids and cats, tea and more. She can be contacted at glogowe1@gmail.com.

Holt resident and Sweet Solutions Cleaning LCC owner Ami Leonard heard about the shooting through one of her clients who called her to cancel around 8:30 p.m.

At her other job with General Motors, she along with her colleagues wore Michigan State gear to show support. 

“I do a lot of work out there (MSU) with my business and they support a lot of my business and we're all just a community,” Leonard said. “I just (don't want) anything like this to ever happen. It made me super mad.”

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She is offering food, cleaning and "someone to talk to." Leonard can be reached at sweetsolutionscleaning@yahoo.com.

MSU alumna Charlotte Schuttler is currently a master's student at the university as well. She heard about the shooting from her neighborhood Facebook page.

She saw firsthand how the shooting affected her department, friends and community. When it came time to help out fellow Spartans, it just made sense to her. 

“You know, that's what you always want to do is help people who need help, and this is a really easy way to just like help anybody who might need it,” Schuttler said.

Offering rides within 30 minutes of East Lansing, a cup of coffee and four dogs to pet, Schuttler can be reached at schuttl4@msu.edu. 

Lansing local Molly Mulvaney's little brother attended MSU. Her friend reached out to her during the shooting to make sure she wasn’t in East Lansing.

During the incident, all Mulvaney could think about were past school shootings. She felt scared, she said. 

She ended up taking time off work for the week and reaching out seeking donations and anything she could do to help MSU students.

“I kind of just wanted to wrap a hug," Mulvaney said. "Hug the entire MSU campus." 

She ended up delivering food to some students on campus with Golden Harvest Restaurant in Lansing, and even made alterations for gluten-free requests. 

Mulvaney said she decided to help out Michigan State students because she was drawn to the cause. She was thinking about the students from Oxford High School that have now survived two mass shootings. 

“I just really wish there was more I could do, I just want to help people,” Mulvaney said. “I know I don’t have a lot but I’m sure I’m a lot more fortunate than a lot of other people right now.” 

Mulvaney is offering "anything short of handing over the keys to my car," including food, conversation, a guest room, a dog and cat that people can spend time with, grocery shopping, rides to the airport and help getting students home. She can be contacted at mollyrmulvaney@gmail.com or text her at 517-515-3940.

“Anything I can do to help them," Mulvaney said. "If anybody asks, I will find someone who can do it for them or a way to get it done.” 

For more support and mental health resources following the Feb. 13 tragedy, click here.

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