Saturday, March 2, 2024

MSU students plan healing, remembrance events for week of Feb. 13

February 10, 2024
The Spartan Statue surrounded by bouquets of flowers and messages of support on Feb. 21, 2023.
The Spartan Statue surrounded by bouquets of flowers and messages of support on Feb. 21, 2023. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Michigan State University students can attend organized events for the week of Feb. 13, 2024 to support their peers in their path to healing, no matter the stage.

On Feb. 13, 2023, a mass shooting on MSU's campus took the lives of three students: Arielle Diamond Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, Students Demand Action MSU, March For Our Lives MSU and Sit Down MSU collaborated to curate events focusing on healing, remembrance, health and advocacy.

Students Demand Action MSU co-leader and social relations and policy junior Saylor Reinders said following the lead of affected students was critical to employing healing methods that would actually be effective.

“It's really important for students to be involved in the planning— specifically survivors of gun violence," Reinders said. “I think that any conversation around this type of tragedy should be rooted in survivors and following their lead and what they need.”

Monday, Feb. 12

On Feb. 12, running from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Gilbert Pavilion of the Breslin Center, a luminary lighting will be held in honor of the students lost.

Additional luminaries will be handed out that day at on campus locations, including the MSU Library circulation desk, Room 150 of the Student Services Building, MSU Union welcome desk, IM East and West welcome desks and at residence hall service centers. Off campus locations distributing them include Common Ground United Resiliency Center, the Hannah Community Center and the East Lansing Public Library.

Neuroscience and public health junior and March For Our Lives MSU President Joseph Kesto said these events are important because these students deserve to be remembered.

“We still have to remember the three lives lost: Alexandria, Arielle and Brian,” Kesto said. “They don't deserve to be forgotten, because what happened to them was a tragedy.”

Tuesday, Feb. 13

From 9 a.m.-5 p.m., students will be able to visit reflection spaces, either on campus at the International Center, Room 175 of Brody Hall, the
Green Room of the MSU Library and room E105 of the Eppley Centeror, or off campus at the Hannah Community Center.

The Alumni Memorial Chapel will also be available as a reflective space from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. This location will feature religious leaders from multiple beliefs to speak with students and provide support.

In addition, the International Center and the Hannah Community Center will feature kindness and service opportunities from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The International Center will have card writing activities and rock painting and the Hannah Community Center will offer a K-12 supply kit packaging and lunch sack decoration. From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be shuttle services available between both locations.

Social relations and policy junior and ASMSU President Emily Hoyumpa believes providing options for how students can engage in activities will foster constructive healing, even when students are in different places in their journey.

“I think it's important to acknowledge that everyone's at different places being a year after,” Hoyumpa said. “What we wanted to do is simply give everyone different chances, no matter where they are in their healing journey, to come together and be with the community or simply take advantage of the events that we're having.”

On the evening of Feb. 13, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., a remembrance candelight ceremony will take place at MSU Lot 62; near the Spartan Statue. The event will feature moments of silence, a message reflecting upon the act of violence, the playing of MSU Shadows and the bells of Beaumont Tower ringing out at 8:18 p.m.

Hoyumpa said she hopes students will attend events in whatever capacity makes them comfortable.

Wednedsay, Feb. 14

Students are invited on Wednesday to take a break, have a coffee and enjoy coloring in the Green Room of the MSU Library, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Hoyumpa said students can support one another just by showing up and being in one another's presence— even if it’s while doing something simple.

“Everyone's sitting with coloring books and just doing something very relaxing,” Hoyumpa said. “That's what we want to do. Just be here, simply in support— being here for one another.”

Thursday, Feb. 15

An "Advocacy Day" sit down will be held at the Lansing State Capitol from 2-3 p.m. Following this, students will get the opportunity to speak with state legislators.

Reinders hopes students will take advantage of this opportunity to express their emotions to legislators.

“I just hope that whether someone's feeling sad, or they're feeling that they need support, that they have somewhere to go,” Reinders said. “(If) they're feeling angry, that could be a time for them to go to the capital with us and show the legislators that we’re angry— that these types of tragedies are preventable and we need to change.”

Friday, Feb. 16

Concluding the week of events, self care will be emphasized on Friday. Food, self care kits, therapy dogs and mental health resources will be made available at locations scattered around campus from 12-3 p.m. These stations will be found on the first floor of the North Business Building, at Wells Hall in the B-wing lobby and in Room 110 of the Student Services Building.

Kesto said while he was glad that students were collaborators in this process and he appreciated MSU’s support, he encouraged the university to think beyond reactive measures and consider advocating for gun violence prevention.

“If there's an issue you have to acknowledge it— especially when it hits your own Community, which is 50,000 something students,” Kesto said. “It's kind of disheartening that they wouldn't do more.”


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