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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Spartans stand together for Feb. 13 remembrance ceremony and hold each other close

MSU+students+gather+for+Feb.+13+remembrance+ceremony.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nick+Schrader%2FUniversity+Communications+
MSU students gather for Feb. 13 remembrance ceremony. Photo Credit: Nick Schrader/University Communications

On the night of Feb. 13, 2024, hundreds of Michigan State Students shuffled into the lot in front of IM West near the Sparty Statue, lined up to grab luminary displays of Spartan green and stood together in remembrance of the lives lost exactly one year ago to a tragedy that changed the Spartan community forever. 

 

The week of the anniversary of the 2023 shooting brought new and old emotions to the surface for all Spartans. To help students cope, ASMSU, in collaboration with MSU’s March For Our Lives, Students Demand Action and Sit Down Michigan State, organized a week of events that promoted healing and togetherness. One of these events was the remembrance ceremony, held on the night we lost three Spartans last year, a night in which these emotions ran highest for many.

 

Before the official ceremony that began just after 8 p.m., therapy dogs roamed and students sipped complimentary hot chocolate. There were smiles and laughter as students ran into the arms of old friends and crouched over friendly golden retrievers. Spartans soaked up these much-needed bursts of joy on a day that felt so dark. 

 

As the ceremony commenced, a solemn silence fell over the crowd. Students packed together shoulder-to-shoulder facing a stage that displayed QR codes linking mental health resources. We buttoned our coats against the frigid air and listened to the words of ASMSU president Emily Hoyumpa.  

 

“Tonight’s remembrance, as well as the activities earlier today, are an opportunity for members of the MSU community, in a way that makes sense for them, to reflect, to grieve, to remember and to come together in support of one another as we navigate this time. At the end of the day, we are also all human, and we are doing what we can to process everything that has happened,” Hoyumpa said. 

 

“It is important to acknowledge that whatever you are feeling is valid. People are in different places along their healing journey, and wherever you are at, tonight, tomorrow and beyond, is OK,” Hoyumpa continued. “Coming together as a Spartan community, our activities earlier today focus on healing through kindness and service, and I thank everyone who worked to make that happen. To me, these acts of kindness and service once again showcase that Spartans are at their best when they come together to support their broader community.” 

 

“Over the next hour and a half, I hope all of you can reflect in the way that makes the most sense for you. There is no right way to reflect. But know that you are not alone and that your fellow spartans will be here to lift you up during these difficult times,” Hoyumpa said.

 

Hoyumpa then invited students to engage with a community art station where they could write notes of remembrance collected in clear boxes. She also reminded the crowd that crisis counselors in lime-green hats and lanyards were present to provide support. 

 

After the speech, MSU’s alma mater song, “MSU Shadows,” began to play. A moment of silence was held and the Beaumont Tower bell tolled twice in honor of Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner, who were lost exactly one year ago. Soon after, “MSU Shadows” played again, and the bell tolled a third time for Brian Fraser, who was also lost exactly one year ago.

 

As the music played, I closed my eyes and felt my body rock back and forth with the wind as I finally began to process my emotions. I had spent the day feeling numb and cynical about the state of the world, wondering if years of working in media would one day make me desensitized to violence. But as the ceremony came to a close I saw tears and felt hugs, and in my friends’ arms, my cynicism melted away.



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About the Contributor
Taylor Truszkowski
Taylor Truszkowski, News Director
Taylor Truszkowski (she/her/hers) is a senior journalism and political science major at Michigan State. She is the current head of Impact's news department. In addition to producing news content, she enjoys writing fiction and poetry. Her other passions include books, travel, music and cats. “Precipitation of heart and head” – Hippo Campus

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