Spartan Sunday: A Community Rebuilding After Tragedy
(Arden Vanover, Feb. 22, 2023)
East Lansing, MI – Love and support for the Michigan State Spartan community spread for over a mile along the banks of the Red Cedar River this past Sunday. Words of inspiration, bad dad jokes, and piles of corgis were abundant, trying to give students a shred of hope and comfort following the demolition of the feeling of safety in the place they call home.
Those from all across the state gathered in East Lansing to show Spartans just how much people cared for them. These individuals traveled to communicate to students that they are not alone after a shooter injured five people and killed three students: Alexandria Vernor, Brian Fraser, and Arielle Anderson on Feb. 13.
Jenni Dickens, MSU alumnus, came out to campus with her husband because she felt compelled to have a hand in healing the community.
Dickens and a group of people set up a booth along the Spartan Sunday path to come together as a community in a way they felt was least imposing on those who needed support the most.
“We were so excited and eager to help out, and I think we weren’t alone there. You know, over 1500 volunteers came down. So, we just brought a table, brought some rocks and just writing some hearts to share our love with the folks who need it right now,” Dickens said.
Further down the trail, the path got busier and more crowded. Dog toys were being handed out by a dog and its owner because the students “needed the comfort more right now.”
Mom hugs were around every corner offering open arms to anyone who welcomed the warm embrace of someone who would hold them as tight as if they were their own child.
Two mothers who did not know one another prior to this event, Debby Kuna and Julie Brewer, stood together in the midst of the bustling crowd.
The two came together and agreed that the Spartan community takes care of everyone and decided that now is the time that the campus and students get taken care of by the surrounding communities that cherish the space Michigan State University offers.
Family, friends, friends of family and complete strangers lined a trail and tried to offer whatever they could to students in a moment in which many grapple to find the words to say. The sense of community shown on the banks of the river in East Lansing is just a step to piecing this broken and hurt campus back together, but the mere presence of those who care gave Spartans the hope that healing will come.
Classes are expected to resume on Monday.
Previous story: https://oaklandcounty115.com/2023/02/13/active-shooter-reported-at-michigan-state-university-ongoing/