MSU Spartans remain strong

 The community of East Grand Rapids has strong connections to East Lansing. In 2022, over 30 East Grand Rapids graduates enrolled at Michigan State University, and for many past years, hundreds of alumni, including parents and teachers have graduated from MSU. This is why when a gunman opened fire on the MSU campus on Monday, Feb 13, 2023, lives were forever changed and green and white flags were given a little bit more meaning for many families, students, and staff. 

At around 8 pm on Monday, Feb 13  the first call was made to first responders about a shooter at Berkey Hall. As the school implemented a shelter-in-place, students contacted their families in panic. Lines buzzed back and forth between EGR and East Lansing.

“When I first found out, my family and I were scared for my brother and we just hoped he would be okay,” Luke Bertke ‘24 said. 

The Bertkes have been constant supporters of the green and white, Erin Bertke and Matt Bertke met at MSU and their eldest son Jack Bertke is a Freshman attending the school. Luke Bertke also plans to maybe one day be a Spartan. 

“My family and I really love Michigan State and I know that this really terrible thing will bring the community of MSU together,” Bertke said.

The Bertke family wasn’t the only ones affected by this tragedy that struck too close to home for many parents, siblings, and alumni of the university. Many struggle to imagine the terror of the students on campus that were told to run and hide in the place that they consider home. 

A home that was forever changed on that night, from a place of good memories to a place students will now associate with fear and terror. 

Many parents and families were at home panicking and hoping that their children weren’t anywhere near danger and trying to imagine what was going through the students’ heads as they were sheltering from danger. 

“I stayed up pretty late to make sure my brother was okay, it was just a really scary experience for everyone involved and no one should have to go through that,” Olivia Shaw ‘24 said. 

The university will now do everything in its power to bring the community back together and mourn the loss of the three students whose lives were taken in this nightmare. Communities and colleges around the world have sent their condolences for Michigan State and spread kind words for the students and families experiencing this terrible horror.