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MTU holds vigil for victims of MSU shooting

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Technological University students participate in a candlelight vigil Monday night mourning victims of the Michigan State University shooting.

HOUGHTON — As Michigan State University students finished their first day back at class since a shooting on campus that killed three people, Michigan Technological University students came together to mourn the victims and bolster each other at a candlelight vigil Monday night.

About 50 people attended the vigil, put on by the Undergraduate Student Government at Tech.

“Not only does this type of tragedy cause an awakening for all of humanity, but our peers had friends and family present at the time of the shooting and lost those family and friends to this senseless act of violence,” said USG President Cheyenne Scott. “To our entire community, your Husky Pack is here for you to grieve alongside. You are not alone. Rely on your support system, and seek university resources if and when you need them.”

Students met at the Husky statue on campus. Amid blowing snow, they huddled over their flame to pass it on to the next person.

Andrea Endres, a second-year sustainability science and society student, came with her sorority sisters from Alpha Sigma Tau.

“We all decided it would be best to come together today,” she said. “I’m from Lansing, so it was hard to even come to this. But I thought it was right to support all of our Husky Pack.”

Dean of Students Wallace Southerland said the names of the three students killed in the shooting — Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser, and Alexandria Verner, adding “we lift (them) up in love and support.”

As students mourn and grieve with the families, they should also acknowledge their anger and frustration. But they should also channel that into positive change, he said.

“As Michigan Tech family, we can organize, you can organize,” he said. “You can support those who want to do something about the violence in our nation. You can support organizations who are striving to heal our damage and broken and divided communities. You can vote for leaders who actually want to do something about the things that you care about.”

To remember those who lost their lives, Southerland said, students should keep talking about kindness, and the importance of a sense of belonging.

​Kerri Gilbertson, assistant director for clinical services and training at Tech’s Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being, hoped students can keep connecting with each other. Students should come up with actions, witness their emotions and find ways to support each other, she said.

“In the days and the weeks ahead, I would encourage you all to spend time with yourself, with others reflecting,” she said. “As you may struggle with emotions, to reach out when you may want to pull away, to lean in, ask for help, connect.”

The MSU shooting had personal resonance for Connor Ford, a third-year ecology student at Tech. One of his childhood friends was among the five people critically wounded.

Ford asked the crowd to give thoughts and prayers for his friend, who is still in critical condition.

It’s hard being isolated geographically, Ford said. But he said events like Monday’s can help bring people together.

After Monday’s event ended, he kept talking with other students, exchanging hugs as they left.

“For me, the personal connection hurts,” he said afterward. “But being a college student up here, I think that’s a pretty universal thing to feel when something like this happens. You think about it like, ‘That could’ve happened here. That could’ve happened to us.’ Part of it’s scary, but it’s almost comforting to know that we all have each others’ back — not just as college students, but as people.”

Students can make an appointment at the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being by calling (906) 487-2538. Employees can ​​contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by calling (906) 225-3145. They can also visit Northstar EAP to schedule an appointment.


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