Friday, June 14, 2024

Guest Essay: MSU and its community members are forever changed

Hundreds of Chicago residents gathered in support of the MSU community for a candlelit vigil organized by Chicago Spartans on Feb. 18, 2023. MSU alumni and supporters came to the Tree House in the city to mourn the loss of three fellow Spartans after a mass shooting took place on campus on Feb. 13, 2023.
Hundreds of Chicago residents gathered in support of the MSU community for a candlelit vigil organized by Chicago Spartans on Feb. 18, 2023. MSU alumni and supporters came to the Tree House in the city to mourn the loss of three fellow Spartans after a mass shooting took place on campus on Feb. 13, 2023.

By: Sylvia Hodges, MSU English senior

On the evening of Feb. 13, I laid on the floor in a locked, dark upstairs bedroom of my house with my roommates, just off of north campus, for nearly five hours. We heard shots had been fired on north campus.

I have several classes in Berkey Hall and had been at the building earlier that day; I was supposed to have more classes there throughout the week. We watched from the window as countless first responders raced to different parts of campus, listening to a police scanner as all manner of rumors and news reached us. I couldn’t get ahold of my sister, but we were pretty sure she was at Munn Ice Arena; I prayed someone had interrupted her hockey practice to tell them to get to safety. We listened on the scanner as the monster killed himself. Finally, we learned three beloved members of our community were dead and five others physically injured.

I was finally able to talk to my sister around 1 a.m.; she had locked down in the zamboni room of Munn with no cell service. We decided to drive home at 2:30 a.m. with a few other students from Grosse Pointe and spent the car ride reflecting on what we had been through, still in disbelief. The next day, we were further devastated to learn that two of the beautiful souls we lost were from Grosse Pointe, including our classmate Brian Fraser.

I haven’t been able to sleep this week. In the limited amount I’ve gotten, I’ve had nightmares. I’ve talked with my friends and sister, and we’re all going through similar emotions. I don’t want to leave my house; I feel anxious even thinking about going to the grocery store or a crowded place. I still plan to return to campus in the coming days, but things are forever changed.

At Brian’s visitation, attended by hundreds, I was able to pay my respects and hug his family. Brian’s dad told me to stay strong, and to TALK to my friends. He said we can’t let ourselves go through this alone, and it’s our turn to do something because Brian’s time is done.

These pictures are how I want to remember Michigan State, my home for the last four years. I’ve been an Izzone member, gone to countless football and hockey games, spent lots of time with friends and family, seen how especially beautiful campus is in the fall, worked at and attended several productions at Wharton Center, got up at 5 a.m. to get in line for the UofM football game, went to two Izzone campouts and made so many beautiful memories.

This week was undeniably horrific. It’s going to take a long time to heal. But we have each other, and we have lots of good to remember as we navigate the bad.

MSU and its community members are forever changed, but our Spartan spirit is stronger than ever 💚 🤍

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