Dec. 12, 2018
The woman remained crouched down at the board. When she finally stood up and turned to us, she was crying and said, “You have no idea how much I needed this right now,” and clutched the paper ornament to her chest. A young man swaggered up to the board, then visibly softened while he read his message, “I love you, you beautiful human.” He told me no one had ever told him that. Eyes glistened with emotion, laughter and joy filled the air as Spartans supported Spartans. Such was the scene last week in a couple of locations around campus.
It’s certainly no secret that it has been an incredibly tough year to be a Spartan. And yet, one thing has remained true – true Spartans support, encourage and stand by each other. This year, more than ever, it’s important to share peace and good will with one another.
With that in mind, some of my brilliant colleagues came up with an incredible idea. We solicited messages of hope, inspiration and positivity through social media. In just 48 hours, we received more than 700 messages. Maybe you even submitted one. We wrote them on cardboard snowflake ornaments and hung them on a board we took around campus. We asked students to write a message for another Spartan and then take one for themselves.
Most treated it like a fortune and blindly chose one. Somehow, maybe through a little Spartan magic, most got something that really resonated with them. I was lucky enough to be on location a couple of times and I can’t tell you how much I loved witnessing an authentic exchange of good will. If you did submit one, know that you made a difference for someone. It’s amazing just how giving and encouraging we can all be to one another.
If you missed participating, you can check out the project in action by watching the short video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Spartan good will. Your heart might grow three sizes after watching and you might find yourself dabbing your eyes.
I don’t think any of the students sought out our boards, but instead stumbled across them while heading to lunch or studying in the library. In the hectic pace of the last week of class, it was so cool to see them light up when they took a minute to reach out to others and gain a little cheer for themselves.
Sometimes, good feelings come when you least expect them. When Jason Archer became the director of the new Strategic Communications Online Master’s program, he pretty much knew what to expect on the academic side. What he didn’t foresee was the bond the classmates would form with one another. As he proudly looks at the first cohort graduating this semester, he took the time to reflect in the FACULTY VOICE: From dream to reality. Check out why he says, “But never forget everything starts at the heart.”
One of his graduating students, Tamara Christie, couldn’t agree more. She expected the benefits of gaining new knowledge, but had no idea how much it would mean to gain new relationships with her classmates. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Timing is everything, to learn why she says, "...wherever we live, work and thrive, we are forever connected, not just online but at heart.”
For me, last week was the salve I needed to heal my wounded Spartan soul. I’m honored to have witnessed firsthand what difference a little kindness can make. As students read their messages aloud I thought, “Yes! This is who we are! This is who can be!” We are Spartans. We are strong. We are kind. We all have a little hope and good will that someone else needs. Find a way to share yours. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner