ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Valley State University hosted a vigil Thursday night as a sign of solidarity and to honor the victims of the shooting at Michigan State University.
Three students, Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner, were killed in the shooting on Monday. Five others were hurt. As of Thursday, four were in critical condition and one was had been moved to stable condition.
Students gathered at the Cook Carillon Tower on the Allendale campus following GVSU’s annual State of the Student Body address.
“The goal of this vigil was to create a space for students to come together and extend their support, send their love and honor those who were lost at Michigan State earlier this week,” Faith Kidd, the student body president, said.
“The communities are so intertwined that it hurt their community, it hurts our community too, and we’re there to show out and show up for them,” said Zack Schmidt, a senior at GVSU.
Many wore green and white as they honored those impacted by Monday’s tragic shooting. Various campus leaders spoke, and there was singing and candles.
“It shouldn’t take a tragedy for us to be there for each other but I think it’s honorable that we all are standing up the way we are,” Kidd said.
Students said the shooting hit very close to home as many have friends and family that are Spartans.
“As soon as the news hit it was very heavy, very tragic and somber. … I think that even though classes weren’t canceled, a lot of people made the decision to not show up for their mental health,” Schmidt said.
Students hoped their small gesture of gathering would give a little hope to a campus that needs it.
“Even though it’s just a bunch of people standing here, it’s still sending a message that we care and that we’re sending thoughts and prayers and thinking of them during this hard time,” said Alaina Dokter, a freshman at GVSU.
The student body president said far too often, students must think about the worst. She said now more than ever, campuses must have each other’s back.
“Students have a voice to fight back and the students have a voice to ask for more: more campus safety, more cameras on campus, change in legislation,” Kidd said.
In response to the shooting, Kidd said some Michigan student body presidents are heading to Lansing next weekend to help craft legislation. Kidd said all universities in Michigan are connected.
“When something happens to your community … it’s even more important to come together. Because no real battle is fought alone, you always have people behind you,” she said.
“We are all connected. Those are our friends. Those are our family members,” she later added.
A banner that will be sent to MSU was also available for students to sign and was covered with signatures and kind messages.
GVSU has also lit its clock tower green in remembrance of the victims.
Michigan State University held its own vigil on Wednesday, when thousands gathered at the Rock on campus to mourn.
Schools all across the state have held vigils in solidarity. Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University and the University of Michigan held vigils on Wednesday. Hope College and Calvin University asked students to wear green to Wednesday night’s basketball game.
The Mackinac Bridge changed its sign Thursday to say, “Spartan Strong.”