Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Healing Through Kindness & Service Event creates reflective, community spaces for Spartans

February 13, 2024
MSU students participate in a drawing activity at the “Healing Through Kindness and Service” event at the International Center on Feb. 13, 2024.
MSU students participate in a drawing activity at the “Healing Through Kindness and Service” event at the International Center on Feb. 13, 2024. —
Photo by Matthew Williams | The State News

Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered at the International Center on Michigan State University's campus and the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing to participate in the Healing Through Kindness and Service Event on Feb. 13. 

The event, meant to help the Spartan community heal and process on the one year anniversary of the mass shooting on MSU’s campus, was organized by Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, and the Center for Community Engaged Learning, or CCEL.

Political science sophomore Kathryn Harding, who serves as Director of Health, Safety, and Wellness for ASMSU, worked diligently with organizations like March For Our Lives, Sit Down MSU and Students Demand Action to put on this event and others throughout the week. 

“(We’re) taking something that’s tragic and turning it into something good to show support for one another in the aftermath of what happened last year,” Harding said. “I think that healing together is a really powerful thing and it’s something that's really unique to the Spartan community.”

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Two students participate in rock-drawing together at the “Healing Through Kindness and Service” event at the International Center on Feb. 13, 2024.

At the International Center, rocks were available to paint and keep or place around campus, food was served and Squishmallows were at hand for participants to attach encouraging notes to. The Hannah Community Center had service activities meant to give back to the Greater Lansing community, such as packing school supply kits for children in the Lansing school districts. Reflective spaces, crisis counselors and resource lists were available at both locations. 

“I hope that people walk away from today feeling like, you know, they did something good and maybe put a smile on someone’s face, in the face of… something that’s really sad,” Harding said.

History and political science junior Connor Le volunteered to staff the event through ASMSU because having designated spaces for people to gather in times of tragedy and healing is important to him.

“Personally, if like, I didn’t have… an event like this or know about an event like this, I probably would have just… been at home rotting in my bed,” Le said. “But having a place to go to be with people who I’m friends with, I care for, being with those who need it… I think it’s really important.”

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Students and community members congregate at the “Healing Through Kindness and Service” event at the International Center on Feb. 13, 2024. The event created a space for the MSU community to gather and recognize the anniversary of last year’s shooting.

Also at the event was international relations and political science junior Drew Gardner, who stressed the importance of people feeling connected and having the “space they need to reflect and be with one another” on the anniversary of a day that devastated the community. 

“I think that everyone’s healing process is different, but for a lot of us, it’s being together,” Gardner said. “I know for me, it’s easier to be with my friends and people who have gone through the same thing as me. And I just think being together with everyone is very helpful.”

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A student puts the finishing touches on her rock drawing at the “Healing Through Kindness and Service” event at the International Center on Feb. 13, 2024.

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