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T H U R S DAY, M ARCH 19, 2020




Self-isolation: Should I stay or should I go? Why I chose to stay on campus

By Karly Graham When I got the email that classes were switching to an all online platform, I knew one thing: I could not go home. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family, it’s just really hard to like them sometimes. Watching my roommate pack up her things and leave was difficult — and so was being told that I would have to work remotely and couldn’t spend time with my office buddies. But staying in East Lansing still had more pros than cons. I really like the freedom I have here. I like that everything I do here is by my own volition. When I’m

here, I don’t really have to show up to my classes. I still go to all of them (well, now “Zoom” into all of them) with no problems because it is something I am deciding to do. Things simply aren’t as rewarding when you’re asked to do them. I really do like spending time at home. I was counting down the days until spring break so I could go home and have a week off, just to be able to lie on the couch and pet my dog. But that’s the problem: home is a break. Maintaining a good worklife balance is something I don’t think I’m able to do from home. I get too easily distracted by my surroundings. Grabbing a cup of coffee when I’m trying to work on something is much more complicated than just walking to the coffee pot and pouring it into a mug. It’s not that I don’t want to go home, it’s just that I honestly can’t. My fami-

ly has to work from home now and I wouldn’t even be able to move from my room to the kitchen for a class because it will be occupied. Now that coffee shops, libraries and diners are closed, I have no solace. On campus, I am able to make my way to a study room if I want a change of scenery. The same can’t be said when I’m at home. I’m really attached to my life in East Lansing, and I was prepared for it to end in May. I was not ready for it to get cut short by two whole months. Yes, I will be leaving before April 12 to get a refund, but I am waiting until that very last weekend before saying goodbye to my second home. In my time here at MSU, I have found a greater sense of responsibility, and with that I found a lot more happiness — I wasn’t going to take that away from myself by heading home before I needed to.


Why I chose to return home

By SaMya Overall



When Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. sent the email that suspended in-person classes, I knew I wanted to continue my classes at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on campus. I enjoy the busyness with students rushing to classes and parties. I like hanging out with my friends in a full dining hall where you have to slightly yell to be heard. But af ter Stanley ’s announcement, that atmosphere was gone. Some people were able to leave within a few hours of the announcement. The dining halls were practi-



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THU R SDAY, MARCH 19, 2020

cally empty. My friends were already making arrangements to leave. The usual hustle and bustle of MSU’s campus became a ghost town, and I knew it was time to leave. It was disappointing, even before virtual classes were extended to the end of the semester. I knew my freshman year of college was essentially over. However, I knew MSU didn’t need me as much as my family needed me during this time. Classes were canceled at my sister’s school, along with all the other K-12 schools in the state, until early April. My parents were stressed as their jobs began to cut hours and lay people off. I needed to be home to help support them, while trying to finish the semester. I wish I could say it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. My brain went into rest mode because I was home, and I fell behind.

Updating students about COVID-19 and how it is affecting MSU while not being there is more difficult than I anticipated. Not to mention, my Wi-Fi at home is absolutely awful, which makes everything 10 times worse. But there are upsides. I got to catch up with my sister and spend late nights watching “Hell’s Kitchen.” I’m slowly getting the hang of online classes. And I’m able to sleep in a little longer before my morning classes — always a win. I’m happy with my decision to return home. If anything were to happen, I have the resources to support and protect myself and those around me. I just wouldn’t have that on campus. It’s unfortunate everything ended so suddenly, and I wish I could spend these last three months on campus. But I know I’m where I need to be.

Vol. 110 | No. 25






Grand Valley State University junior Natalie Cousins poses for a portrait with a bedazzled mask on March 17 in East Lansing. PHOTO BY ALYTE KATILIUS


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The key to getting through this crisis is remembering our humanity The State News Editorial Board

It was only a week ago that we learned of the first cases of COVID-19 in Michigan A week ago that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. A week ago that Michigan State made the right call in suspending in-person classes, the first university in the state to do so. Want to feel really old? The Michigan primary was only a week ago, too. Lately, news of how the coronavirus is impacting our world has been non-stop. Since then, every public university and K-12 school in Michigan has put a pause on face-to-face learning. Michigan bars and restaurants have been temporarily shut down. Social distancing — which governments across the country have been enforcing — means we can only meet in small groups. Bus lines have been altered. Courts have closed. MSU’s graduation commencement

has been postponed. Even watching sports to take your mind off the chaos is no longer an option. And things will probably get worse. We have no idea what this will mean for small businesses or for the global economy. Some are losing their jobs or are facing displacement, and we really have yet to see the peak of how the pandemic will impact our society. We also don’t know how long it will persist. Despite all of these unknowns, the key to getting through this crisis is remembering our humanity. All of our lives are connected, whether you’re still in East Lansing, you’re at your permanent residence or you’re somewhere else entirely. The actions you take during this time have the potential to lift the people around you up — or bring them down. The MSU community prides itself on having heart and on making an impact in both big and small ways. We speak up for what is right, fight for others and point out where institutional change is needed. Why should now be any

different? Spartans, continue to make the world a better place. Make the choice to practice social distancing and self-isolation whenever you can. Donate goods to food banks and money to organizations working to make a difference. Check up on others to see how they’re doing. And take care of yourselves, too. We still have a long way to go before we return to normalcy, but it will be our humanity, our kindness, compassion and patience, that brings us through this crisis.

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T H U R S DAY, MA RC H 1 9, 2020




How to live without sports: A list of things to do to get your sports fix SPO RTS SH OWS AN D MOVIES TO WATCH

By Elijah McKown This. Sucks. There’s no other way to put it. There are no sports and we’re all stuck in our homes without them. All of this right as the best month of the year was about to start. For sports fans, there’s no other way to cope with the lack of sports, than with sports. So, what do we do in the meantime, with no live sports to watch? I have compiled a list of things to pass the time with to get your sports fix while we await the eventual return to normalcy.

Over the last few days, I have had no idea what to do when I turn on the television with no live sports. Sports movies and shows can be a great way to fill that gap while we wait. ESPN 30 for 30’s: Our women’s basketball beat reporter, Devin Anderson-Torrez’s, favorite. ESPN does a phenomenal job with this series of documentaries. ESPN talks to and provides never-before-heard perspectives from athletes and people involved in some of the biggest sports stories in history. For our Detroit

sports fans, the "Bad Boys" 30 for 30 on the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s is a must-watch. To watch these, however, you either have to catch the occasional showing on ESPN or subscribe to ESPN+, which costs $4.99 monthly or $49.99 for the year. In my opinion, it is worth the price. Last Chance U: Typically, Netflix sports shows or movies flop, in my opinion. This one doesn’t. Last Chance U takes a look at East Mississippi Community College’s football team for the first two seasons. EMCC takes in many high-profile

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Junior forward Xavier Tillman Sr. high fives fans after a win over Iowa. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 78-70, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 25. PHOTO BY MATT ZUBIK

recruits who have been kicked off their Division I teams, and the players attempt to better themselves and show they are ready to make a return to the next level. In seasons three and four, the show moves to Independence Community College in Kansas. Coach Carter: Missing basketball? Love Samuel L. Jackson? Here’s your movie. Coach Carter is a true story about a high school in Richmond, California, where the head coach, played by Jackson, suspends all play until the team’s grades rise and their attitudes get better. This film deals with the individual battles of the players off the court and in their home lives. A great feel-good story to get you through these dark times. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story: Need a Cinderella story? One of the best comedies ever, where Peter La Fleur, played by Vince Vaughn, and the Average Joes make a magical run in a dodgeball tournament and have to take down White Goodman, played by Ben Stiller, and the Globo Gym Purple Cobras to keep their gym open. Can they do it? You probably know the answer. The Sandlot: It’s time to fall back to a simpler time in our lives. If you want to feel like a kid again, watch this classic in which a group of young kids battle the beast to retrieve a baseball signed by Babe Ruth — the Colossus of Clout, the Titan of Terror, the Sultan of Swat, the King of Crash and the Great Bambino.


The usual few hours of my time I spend playing sports video games a week will see a dramatic rise while I am back home. Video games can be a great way to get your sports fix. Take over your favorite team, or a lovable underdog and build them up in Dynasty mode, and it will take up hours of your day before you even realize it.

NCAA Football 14: At this moment, there is still not a better football game out there. Not just because it is the last college football video game made, but because it has the best mechanics of any football game ever made. NCAA Football 14 has a great Dynasty mode that allows you to be the head coach of your favorite football team and take them to the top. You will have to have an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3 to play, as it is not compatible with the newest consoles, but it is worth it. NBA 2K: This is the only new basketball game on the market, and that’s okay. 2K does a great job with its game each year. It is also very easy to pop in and play with your friends online while you cannot see each other. FIFA: Sorry, I’m a soccer fanatic. However, FIFA is currently the best and most realistic sports franchise out right now. FIFA has a great online ultimate team mode, where you can play online and create the team of your dreams. The manager mode has incredible depth and might be the best dynasty-like mode out right now. The gameplay is just icing on the cake.


While public libraries are closing, you can still support local independent bookstores by shopping online and finding great books at low prices. Sports Illustrated Magazine: Despite the drought of sports coverage, I have confidence Sports Illustrated will continue to provide great feature stories. SI is a monthly read of mine, and now is the time to come back to a sports icon. The Day March Went Mad: While we wait until next year for March Madness, read Seth Davis’ story about the best March Madness to ever occur. Davis brings never-before-heard stories of the seasons and matchup between Magic Johnson’s Spartans

and Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad. A must-read even when there isn’t a pandemic. The Book of Basketball: Bill Simmons is one of the most polarizing sports figures in the sports world, and he can still write a great book. The Book of Basketball analyzes age-old basketball questions and does so with great humor and insight. The State News: Despite no live sports, we will continue to provide you with coverage and sports stories that will pique your interest!


One day, sports are going to return. Want to see what you can look forward to? Watch some recruit highlights! A quick YouTube search will find you just about any recruit into Michigan State that you want. Here’s a few to get you started. Jordon Simmons: Simmons committed a few weeks ago, even after the passing of the torch between Mark Dantonio and Mel Tucker. Simmons looks to create a heck of a 1-2 punch with Elijah Collins in the backfield. Emoni Bates: Want to see the next hoops phenomenon? While he has not decided what his future looks like after high school, Tom Izzo has been hot in his pursuit of this high school sophomore and looks to be the favorite if he doesn’t skip college for the NBA. Mady Sissoko: Here’s the next big man you will get to know very well in the coming months. With a massive frame and incredible athleticism, Sissoko will excite MSU fans everywhere when he takes the hardwood next season. A.J. Hoggard: Remember what I said about an impressive frame and athleticism? Hoggard is just that, in the body of a guard. With Cassius Winston’s departure, Hoggard will play a big role in the backcourt with Rocket Watts next season.


‘It was a gut punch’: Sports community reacts to cancellation of NCAA tournament By Jayna Bardahl The typical Michigan State men’s basketball game day for supply chain management senior Conner Wyckoff went differently than most. He’d normally show up to the Breslin Center early, along with his fellow Izzone student section leaders, to line the seats with paper bags to be thrown at the first basket and newspapers to be read as the opposing team’s lineup gets announced. When it came to a free throw, all eyes were on him as he led the notorious Izzone distractions while swinging a big cutout of a Spartan player’s head through the air. So when March Madness was called off due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all Wyckoff could feel was grief. “I’m pretty sure I speak for all of the Izzone when I say — just sadness,” Wyckoff said. “Just knowing that we felt really good about the team and really wanted them to be able to go out and show more than just East Lansing and the surrounding communities how good we really are in terms of going on in the tournament.” The Izzone is a staple at MSU men’s basketball games. The energy and passion of the student section plays a large role in what makes competing in the Breslin Center so difficult for traveling teams. Advertising management junior Alan Weeks said the Izzone section leaders are the most passionate people about MSU men’s basketball, going as far as to say that watching the games has become his “own reality.” “For me, it was a gut punch,” Weeks said. “I knew that needed to happen, I knew that for sure this was going to start escalating, but it still sucks. You don’t want it to happen, we watch sports to try to get away from stuff.” It’s certainly a feeling sports fans across the country are experiencing, desperately trying to fill a void in the absence of what is usually the most entertaining month in college sports. For chemical engineering senior and Izzone leader Nick Ignatoski, trying to find other hobbies has become essential. “I ’ve spent some t i me re-watching some old games

“It’s certainly disappointing, especially for my senior year. I would’ve loved to experience it, but at the same time, the safety and health of the general public and the players as well is obviously the most important thing.” Nick Ignatoski Izzone leader and going back and appreciating some of the stuff that’s happened in the past couple years,” Ignatoski said. “It’s certainly disappointing, especially for my senior year. I would’ve loved to experience it, but at the same time, the safety and health of the general public and the players as well is obviously the most important thing.” The leaders all had a similar understanding of the decision made by both the Big Ten and the NCAA. Weeks said the most difficult part about the cancellation was that it cut the season short for the athletes, especially the seniors. “They provided us with tons of entertainment just throughout the four years — (Kyle) Ahrens, (Cassius) Winston, even (Conner) George,” Weeks said. “So if you’re not thinking about them, that should probably be the main priority.” The NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility for spring sport athletes on March 13. This additional eligibility is a privilege some feel should be granted to winter sport athletes as well, since their post-season play was eliminated. Ignatoski said he doesn’t see winter sports getting the same exception. “Obviously it would be super nice for that to happen, but I think a lot of guys would probably still leave anyway,” Igna-

Members of the Izzone toss newspapers into the air before a game against Iowa. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 78-70, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 25. PHOTO BY MATT ZUBIK

toski said. “Maybe not, but for the majority of them, if you asked them if they wanted to be at school for another year if they had the opportunity to go to something else, they would probably go.” Many Spartan players took to social media to express their feelings following the announcement. Winston took to Instagram while George took a lighter approach on Twitter, questioning if the Spartans’ preseason No. 1 status grants them the National Championship by default. Despite the disappointment, Wyckoff said there’s also a sense of gratitude that goes hand in hand. Gratitude for the safety of the athletes and fans, and gratitude for exactly what Winston told SportsCenter on Friday — that he “went out a champion.” “You always live to want to play the next game, but at the same time, going out on such a high note is a really good feeling,” Wyckoff said. “After doing further research, I definitely think that it was a very smart move.”

“I knew that needed to happen, I knew that for sure this was going to start escalating, but it still sucks. You don’t want it to happen, we watch sports to try to get away from stuff.”

Alan Weeks Advertising management junior T H U R S DAY, MA RCH 1 9, 2020




A 25-year legacy A reflection of Tom Izzo’s decorated tenure By Jayna Bardahl

Michigan State’s coach Tom Izzo holds back tears after the men’s basketball game against Purdue on Feb. 10, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers, 68-65. STATE NEWS FILE PHOTO



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Flashback to 20 years ago, at The Palace in Auburn Hills. Michigan State defeated Iowa State 75-64, sending the Spartans to their second consecutive national championship under coach Tom Izzo’s reign. It’s a memory the team won’t get the chance to recreate this year, following the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but it’s a moment that shines in Izzo’s 25-year tenure. “The whole stadium embraced us and that was when I felt like, ‘This is Michigan State here’ ... from hotels to gas stations to bars to people in the streets,” Izzo said. “This one sent us to the national championship. It was in our home state. It doesn’t get any better than that.” This season was cut short for Izzo and his team. “It goes without saying, this is something that none of us have ever experienced,” Izzo said in a statement. “I feel most for our seniors, for guys like Cassius (Winston) and Kyle (Ahrens) and Conner (George), who wanted to have one last shot at March Madness. Telling them their career was over was extremely emotional. But these are unprecedented times and some things are bigger than basketball. The primary concern for all of us is the health and well-being of our students-athletes, staff and fans.” The abrupt end to his 25th season doesn’t erase the legacy Izzo has developed after becoming head coach in 1995. As all sports get put on pause, we can live by reflecting on the thrill of his career thus far.

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Flashback to 2016. Cassius Winston and Izzo went to the Wendy’s drive thru, Izzo got a burger and Winston got a 10-piece nugget with a strawberry lemonade. Izzo found a spot in the parking lot and the two talked. Despite their 2019 trip to the Final Four or Winston’s decorated career in the green and white, that trip to Wendy’s stands out to him, he said. “We talked about the season, talked about things I wanted to do in the future,” Winston said. “That really helps you see him not just as

a coach but as a person.” Izzo’s 25 years makes him the longest-serving active head coach in the conference — and in those years lie so many moments. In Izzo’s basement, there’s the picture somebody painted for him after his first Big Ten win as head coach against Bob Knight — that’s a moment. There’s the first Big Ten championship in 1999, another moment. Or the Kentucky game that sent him to his first Final Four that same year, another shining moment. But it’s the times Izzo steps back from being a coach and instead acts as a best friend that define him as one of the greatest MSU has ever seen. “I want to enjoy their lives with their kids. I want to see them be successful. There’s so many things I want there because I owe those guys the most,” Izzo said. “Those are the guys that put me on the map. As I’ve said a million times, coaches don’t get to do as much as people think.” Xavier Tillman said the interactions Izzo has with his three-year-old daughter Ayanna, better known as Yanni, mean the most. “To have your coach being so cool with your daughter like that is sweet for me, personally, and my wife as well,” Tillman said. “Just to know that he’s not just a coach but he’s a guy that my family can come to if we have any problems is huge.” Twenty of Izzo’s players have moved on to become selections in the NBA draft. Mateen Cleaves, Draymond Green and more recently Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. go down as just a handful of Izzo’s players who have made a name for themselves beyond the collegiate level, largely due to the dedication Izzo has to his players’ growth. “He’s the reason I play a lot harder than I did when I came in,” Winston said. “He’s constantly pushing, constantly teaching me about energy, leadership, being vocal — things like that help me with my game.” Tillman said Izzo pushes him to “go harder” each day. “Obviously that’s kind of cliché, but that’s a real thing,” Tillman said. “His energy — it’s contagious. He’ll literally get you going. He’ll be angry or he’ll be happy but either way he’ll get you going.”


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Then-sophomore guard Miles Bridges (22) embraces Michigan State’s coach Tom Izzo after the men’s basketball game against Purdue on Feb. 10, 2018 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers, 68-65. STATE NEWS FILE PHOTO

But it’s all worth it because, for Izzo, his players mean the world. “Those guys that have done so much for me,” Izzo said. “I want to be able to thank them. I want to be able to enjoy the time with them. I want to be able to hopefully see them have some of the same success and dreams that I got to have as an adult instead of a college guy.”


Another flashback. This time to Northern Michigan University, or NMU, in 1977. On the court stood two guards: Izzo and now-MSU men’s basketball assistant coach Mike Garland. Garland said the two coaching together is simply a “fit.” “A lot of the system that we use, like our fast break for instance, the way we play defense and things like that, is the same system that we grew up playing,” Garland said. “So to implement that, and know how one another is thinking was kind of second nature. On top of that we’re friends, so it has a natural connection to it.” Izzo graduated from NMU in 1977, and moved on to begin coaching at Ishpeming High School before transitioning to the college coaching scene as an assistant at his alma mater. In 1983, Izzo moved to East Lansing as an assistant coach at Michigan State before taking on the head coach position in 1995. With three Big Ten Coach of the Year awards, eight Final Four appearances, six Big Ten tournament championships and one National Championship, Izzo has a decorated reign. Izzo’s 25 NCAA Tournament wins are the most ever for a Big Ten coach and rank sixth all-time. Izzo acknowledged that not many coaches stay in the same place for a long time, but above the championships and successes, the one thing that keeps Izzo in East Lansing is simple — the place is his home. “When I say it’s my home, when you get married here, you raise your kids here, kids went to school here — it’s given me so much financially, status-wise, enjoyment-wise and dreaming big with the dreams I’ve had,” Izzo said. Izzo’s son Steven joined the Spartan team this season as a freshman. Steven said he grew up spending time in the gym, shooting around with his dad’s players and, most importantly, being a first-hand witness to the passion his dad has for MSU basketball. “It’s everything, it’s everything to him, being in the state that he was born in,” Steven said. “It’s cool just to be around him every day and be able to spend some time with him and enjoy his presence (on the court.)”


One last flashback. This time to March 8, senior night at the Breslin, the night nobody thought

would be the last game of the 2020 season. The night that captured more than the Spartans’ third straight Big Ten title. The night that proved this team could work through the adversity that came along the way with Joshua Langford’s injury, Joey Hauser’s ineligibility, team injuries and most prominently, Winston’s family tragedy. Garland said this season was “special” in the sense that it was probably the greatest coaching job he and Izzo have done so far. “A big part of coaching is not just coaching the X’s and O’s, but there’s a psychology part of it,” Garland said. “We had to kind of get our team back, try to convince them that things weren’t over, the season wasn’t over and that if we got it going again we could be pretty good … and in some kind of way we managed that.” There won’t be a tournament run. We won’t get to see Winston’s last trip through March or Izzo’s tournament game plan. There will be no bracket betting, there will be no National Champion. But Izzo will be back and ready to achieve his goal of leaving MSU better than how he found it. “I owe everything to (Michigan State),” Izzo said. “My goal still is to get this place where, when I leave, it’s better than when I got here. And when I leave, it’s strong enough to carry on some of the great things we’ve done.”

All Saints Episcopal Church 800 Abbot Rd. (517) 351-7160 Sun. Worship: 8am, 10am, & 5pm Sunday School: 10am Ascension Lutheran Church 2780 Haslett Road East Lansing (517) 337-9703 Sunday worship: 10:00am Sunday Bible study: 8:45am Thursday Bible study: 2:00pm Crossway Multinational Church 4828 Hagadorn Rd. (Across from Fee Hall) (517) 917-0498 Sun: 10:00am Greater Lansing Church of Christ 310 N. Hagadorn Rd. (Meet @ University Christian Church) (517) 898-3600 Sun: 8:45am Worship, 10am Bible Class Wed: 1pm, Small group bible study www.greaterlansing Hillel Jewish Student Center 360 Charles St. (517) 332-1916 Shabbat – Services@ 6pm / dinner @ 7, September–April instagram: @msuhillel

The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing 920 S. Harrison Rd. (517) 351-4309 Friday Services: 12:15-12:45pm & 1:45-2:15pm For prayer times visit Martin Luther Chapel Lutheran Student Center 444 Abbot Rd. (517) 332-0778 Sun: 10:30am & 7pm Wed: 7pm Mini-bus pick-up on campus (Fall/Spring) www.martinluther The People’s Church Multi-denominational 200 W Grand River Ave. (517)332-6074 Sun. Service: 10:30am with free lunch for students following worship Riverview Church- MSU Venue MSU Union Ballroom, 2nd Floor 49 Abbot Rd. (517) 694-3400 Sun. Worship: 11:30am-ish St. Paul Lutheran Church (ELCA) Worship with us on Sundays at 10am 3383 E. Lake Lansing Rd 517-351-8541 officemanagerstpaul

St. John Catholic Church and Student Center 327 M.A.C Ave. (517) 337-9778 Sun: 8am, 10am, Noon, 5pm, 7pm M,W: 5:30pm T & Th: 8:45pm F: 12:15pm University Christian Church 310 N. Hagadorn Rd (517) 332-5193 Sun. Bible Study: 10am Sun. Worship: 11:15am University Lutheran Church (ULC) “We’re open in every way” 1020 S. Harrison Rd (517) 351-7030 Sun. Worship: 8:30am & 10:45am Fridays@Five: Dinner, discussion & fun 5pm Mon. Bible Study: 6:30pm @Wells Hall Quad Facebook: ULC and Campus Ministry University United Methodist Church 1020 S. Harrison Rd (517) 351-7030 Main Service: Sun: 11am in the Sanctuary Additional Services: NEW contemporary service Sundays at 9am with band titled ‘REACH’ TGiT (Thank God its Thursday): Thur: 8pm in the Chapel of Apostles WELS Lutheran Campus Ministry 704 Abbot Rd. (517) 580-3744 Sat: 6:30pm

Senior guard Cassius Winston (5) and coach Tom Izzo embrace after Winston was subbed out on his senior day. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes, 80-69, at the Breslin Center on March 8. PHOTO BY MATT ZUBIK




Religious Organizations:

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‘It just ended’: A year cut short for MSU seniors “It just ended. It was over and I didn’t even have a chance to do all these things that I thought I was going to do with some of my best friends that I made at the school we all loved.”

By Wendy Guzman After four years of hard work, journalism senior Rachel Hyams’ family and friends won’t get to watch her accept her diploma. The same goes for all Michigan State seniors graduating this spring. “When you have kids one day, you’re not going to show them pictures of you graduating,” Hyams said. “It’s just a long list of things. We work so hard for four years, so we look forward to the day we can receive our diplomas — and it’s just gonna be a little different now.” Following all in-person classes being cancelled through the end of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced March 14 that commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020 have been postponed. “When I read that commencement was postponed in the email, I just felt a sinking feeling in my stomach,” journalism senior Katie Birecki said via email. “This is something that I’ve looked forward to since becoming a Spartan — feeling the pride and joy in my school as I walked across the stage.” As the reality of COVID-19’s impact hit seniors, many realized their final year as Spartans was not going to go as planned. “My idea of what my senior St. Patrick’s Day is would not be sitting at home with my parents and chatting about who knows what at the kitchen table and watching TV with them downstairs,” journalism senior Mattie Milne said. “But, it is what it is in finding the positive in everything that’s happening.”

Mattie Milne Journalism senior

MSU graduates at the fall 2019 commencement ceremony at Breslin Center on Dec. 14, 2019. PHOTO BY ANNIE BARKER

Many disappointed seniors are trying to adjust to having to add the global pandemic to their list of college memories. “In the moment right now, I feel like I don’t have closure,” Birecki said. “I’ll probably still feel like that years from now. Memories of me in Zoom meetings and completing my homework on my bed are all I have for my last semester

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in college. That’s just such a crazy thought to me. It shouldn’t have been like this.” From St. Patrick’s Day to senior pictures to commencement, many won’t get to experience the different “lasts” they were hoping to during their final semester in college. As a tour guide for MSU, Birecki has been waiting for her senior tour, where she’d get to invite her parents along as she sported a cap and gown. “Being a tour guide was a really special time in my life at MSU,” she said. “I not only made tons of friends through the program, I was also able to connect with future Spartans, show them campus, and help them make a very important decision that would shape the rest of their lives. I went on my friends’ senior tours — and they’re quite emotional — but it’s a beautiful way to wrap up not only your time as a tour guide, but your time as a student, as well.” Milne is an editor-in-chief at MSU’s fashion magazine, VIM, and said she was most disappointed in all the planned events she had to cancel, including a launch party at Foster Coffee Company, a music video and a fashion show at

the Breslin Center. “I was just so upset. I don’t normally cry, but it felt like a bad breakup or losing a friend in a way,” Milne said. “It just ended. It was over and I didn’t even have a chance to do all these things that I thought I was going to do with some of my best friends that I made at the school that we all loved. So it took a few days to really process it and realize what it meant.” Seniors are trying to find ways to commemorate their time at MSU and express their gratitude for the university in their own way. “I’m just being grateful for things that I was able to do throughout my four years here at Michigan State University,” Hyams said. “I’m practicing gratitude every single day, just getting myself active, being active. Not just not sitting in a slump, just staying positive, writing things down that I’m grateful for, things that I want to improve in.” Despite having her senior year at MSU get shortened, Milne said she strives to maintain a positive outlook. “Those were all really fun events we’re missing out on and they got taken away from us, but people’s lives are getting taken away. People’s livelihoods are getting taken away from this,” Milne said. “Everyone saying, ‘Class of 2020, of course, you can be bummed and sad about it,’ but in a big picture mindset, I think I’ll look back and just hopefully can say we came out stronger in the end. Not just (the) class of 2020, but everyone.”

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THU R SDAY, MARCH 19, 2020

A moment from the fall 2019 commencement ceremony at Breslin Center on Dec. 14, 2019. PHOTO BY ANNIE BARKER

Profile for State News

The State News, March 19, 2020  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University on Thursdays during fall, spring and select days during summer seme...

The State News, March 19, 2020  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University on Thursdays during fall, spring and select days during summer seme...

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