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Amid tragedy, Spartans find solace in heartwarming moments at MSU

February 15, 2024
Photo by Aryanna Dorsey | The State News

While navigating strong feelings during the one-year mark of the Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University's campus, many students have shared their favorite moments and memories that have allowed them to focus on brighter aspects of their time at MSU.

For students like prelaw freshman George Safadi, becoming involved Greek life has helped him foster a greater sense of community. Safadi said joining Phi Delta Theta Fraternity was by far the most memorable and meaningful experience he's had since becoming a Spartan.

"(I loved) joining a frat and basically seeing the brotherhood of everybody in there," Safadi said. "And just knowing that we all have each other's back."

Social studies and secondary education freshman Alexandra Kochanny said being a part of the Izzone has been her favorite MSU memory.

"We got pulled to the lower bowl the other day and it’s genuinely like one of the greatest experiences - to feel the same thing that everyone else around you is feeling," Kochanny said.

Students also reflected on how MSU’s community has been there for them this past year and continues to support them to this day.

Biochemistry and molecular biology sophomore Quentin Nollet appreciated how their professors have put in immense effort to accommodate to their needs and emphasize the importance of mental health.

“My teachers were understanding, especially as somebody who has a lot of anxiety and stress, like that shooting really, really hit me hard,” Nollet said. “I know teachers understand that mental health is important and supporting you by saying, ‘Hey, if you need a break, just let us know,’ really felt heartwarming and I also felt like I was being listened to, and that's really one of the things that MSU really helped me with.”

Actuarial science freshman Olivia Jenney said efforts made by MSU to help students after the shooting have not gone unnoticed.

“They have done a ton of events,” Jenney said. “They tried to keep people out of Berkey Hall, they brought in the therapy dogs and they have a ton of like therapists on site that you can go to and work with.”

Jenney, whose family members are MSU alumuni, said her love for the school since becoming a Spartan has grown "exponential."

For Nollet, the realization that MSU kept them as safe as they could during the shooting helped them grow a stronger connection and love for MSU, they said.

“Just being able to be in my dorm (during the shooting) somewhat gave me comfort because I’m like, ‘At least I know this place I am in and know that I am pretty safe where I am,’” Nollet said. “Just being able to tell myself, ‘Hey I am in a safe space in my dorm,’ really, really, really made me feel like MSU somewhat still helped.” 

Kochanny said going to Spratan sports events helped her push through a tough year and rekindle her love for the little things.

“Attending the sporting events, like attending the campout, even the Sparticipation, it was like, ‘Wow, a lot of people want to be here,’ and like there’s a place for everyone here,” Kochanny said.

Safadi said spending more time with his friends and family helped him realize the importance of connecting with people around him.

“It’s always good to be a nice person because there’s a lot of nice people here, who if you just like be friends with them, they’ll always have your back, you know, sometimes make friends for life," Safadi said.

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