Thursday, February 22, 2024

Guest Essay: Michigan State isn’t just a part of our life, it’s home

Beaumont Tower on Michigan State University campus lit up green on Feb. 27, 2023 to honor the victims of the mass shooting on Feb. 13, 2023.
Beaumont Tower on Michigan State University campus lit up green on Feb. 27, 2023 to honor the victims of the mass shooting on Feb. 13, 2023. —
Photo by Jack Patton | The State News

By Sam Klemet, 2007 alumnus

I drove through Michigan State’s campus the day after the shooting as I’ve done thousands of times over the course of my life - as a 2007 alum, and just about every day for the past 18 months - having moved back to live in East Lansing.

I love this campus. I love the way it looks when the leaves change from season to season. I love the way it smells on game days in the Fall. I love packing up a wagon with blankets and taking our sons on walks that usually include a stop and purchase at the bookstore. I love MSU’s buildings, its spirit, and its energy.

To me, everything about Michigan State’s campus is perfect.

So, when I heard sirens tearing through what is normally a quiet time on campus Monday night, my heart sank and the devastation of losing three young people and five others injured has scarred our tight knit community.

February’s shooting ripped the innocence of students who should be on campus finding themselves, discovering the world, and making memories. Instead, they have to experience the trauma of mass violence that, while painful, is sadly unsurprising.

Running to make sure our doors and windows were locked where our two- and one-year-old sons were sleeping because the shooter was seen on video less than a block away from our house is a feeling of terror I can’t, yet, comprehend.

Reading texts from students and educators who were in complete fear shouldn’t be the norm. This generation is being robbed of peace and joy. This is the time of their life that is supposed to be formative not traumatizing.

My heart is broken for the families and friends who lost those they love and for our entire Spartan Community whose affinity for campus will now always be stained by this tragedy.

And while the healing process will be long and painful, SPARTANS WILL move forward collectively, love harder, and I hope work together to help identify solutions so other communities don’t have to experience this devastation.

Michigan State isn’t just a part of our life, it’s home. And while certainly cracked, the foundation of the MSU community can’t be shattered.

Go Green. Go White and forever remember the Spartans we lost.

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