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Memorial planning


The Feb. 13 Permanent Memorial Planning Committee was created in October 2023 to guide the process of establishing a memorial in honor and remembrance of those we lost and those affected by the Feb. 13, 2023, tragedy.

The committee, made up of students, faculty, staff and community liaisons, is actively meeting and working to define a process to involve the MSU community and our connected communities in gathering input for the creation of a lasting memorial on campus. MSU’s National Charrette Institute is supporting and facilitating the community engagement process. Additionally, the Office for Resource and Support Coordination is having private conversations with those most directly impacted by the violence.

The process

A community engagement survey to help shape the campus memorial was active February to March 2024. Respondents were asked to identify the most important purposes of the memorial, potential modes of interaction and the kind of location that promotes the purpose and interaction. In addition to the survey, public focus group sessions were held in March on campus and in the City of East Lansing, as well as online. Focus groups with directly impacted groups continued through the end of April.

The survey was promoted using a QR code during the Feb. 13, 2024, commemorative gathering as well as in residence halls and community locations. In addition, the link was shared in the State News, MSUToday, emails through the university and various partner listservs, and in MSU social media channels. There were 1,965 responses. The committee met in April to review the results and to identify criteria that will be incorporated into the call for proposals.

Respondents indicated the purpose of the memorial is to honor and remember as well as heal and process grief. The top responses for what we will do at the memorial were reflect and experience individually. More than 50% of respondents felt the memorial should be in a natural, serene setting that offers a contemplative environment.

Next steps

Below is a general timeline of next steps:

  • May 2024: A call for proposals will be created to invite designs for the permanent campus memorial.
  • Fall 2024: The committee will present a final selection of proposals for community input. After the public comment period, the memorial committee will summarize responses and, in coordination with the Public Art on Campus Committee, recommend a final design.
  • Spring 2025: Work to construct the permanent memorial is planned to start.

Additionally, ASMSU donated a memorial bench in April 2023. It is being installed in a small plaza near Berkey Hall, along with related landscaping updates.

Archiving Feb. 13-related memorial objects at the MSU Museum

The MSU Museum is serving as the central repository for memorial items placed around campus following the tragedy of Feb. 13, 2023. These items include signs, letters, candles, stuffed animals and various personal mementos and ephemera, all of which will be documented and preserved.

Throughout 2024, the MSU Museum will focus on cataloging and digitizing all memorial items, performing preventative conservation and ensuring proper storage. Museum staff will continue collaborating with campus partners to collect additional materials placed around campus in commemoration of the one-year mark.

In the near term, the collection materials will remain on restricted access and will not be available to the public. The MSU Museum and its campus partners are determining the best ways to manage this important collection in a trauma-informed manner.