Michigan State University boasts over 500,000 alumni across the world – and I am so proud to be one of them as a 2020 graduate.
When I was a senior in high school – I knew I wanted to be a Spartan.
I toured the university, like many other prospective students, and fell in love with the beautiful campus, the J-School, and most important to me – the kind, caring, and welcoming people that called themselves Spartans.
So in August 2016, on what felt like the hottest and stickiest day of the year, I moved in to my residence hall in West Akers with my mom – so excited to start a new journey in my life.
And the four years I spent at MSU were the best of my life so far.
I met amazing, life-long friends, learned so much in my journalism classes, and even became a campus tour guide – a job that let me connect with future Spartans and share the best MSU has to offer.
I still miss being on campus, eating at the dining halls, learning new perspectives, and chanting ‘Go Green, Go White!’ at Spartan Stadium and the Breslin.
So to the hundreds of thousands of alumnae I hope I’m not amiss when I say you and I felt the same disbelief and shock Monday night when the news came of a shooting on campus.
I didn’t believe it at first. I thought it might have been some student off campus, who might have heard something that they thought was a gunshot, or maybe a prank call to the police.
But I listened to the police scanner, like thousands did, as we heard reports of police sweeping dorms and dining halls.
Places I lived, places friends lived, buildings I spent hours studying and learning in.
I had classes in Berkey Hall my senior year. I was constantly at the Union – as that was the first stop on campus tours.
To see the campus I hold so close to my heart now become a crime scene from bloodshed – it’s something I never thought would happen at my school.
I feel for the doctors, surgeons, and nurses at Sparrow Hospital who treated the injured and the dying.
I feel for the first responders – who jumped into the situation – not knowing what to expect, with the sole purpose of protecting students and faculty.
I feel for the students – who stayed sheltered in place for hours – and came out with three less members of the Spartan family.
I feel for the faculty and staff – who now are figuring out how to console their students – when they’re feeling the exact same way.
I feel for the families of Arielle, Brian, and Alexandria, who now have a hole in their hearts, and are grieving the loss of their loved ones from a senseless and violent act.
It can be easy to write off a mass shooting, especially when there’s been 69 mass shootings in just a month and a half into 2023.
But when you know the places the national news is talking about, you can put yourself in the shoes of students on campus now, it hits closer to home.
Because for me, it is home.
It’s been 11 years since Sandy Hook, 5 years since Parkland, 15 months since Oxford, and nine months since Uvalde.
I’m mad, I’m shocked, I’m heartbroken. And I don’t understand why this happened.
Our motto is Spartans Will. And as Spartans, we will get through this.