Flowers left in memory of MSU shooting victims to be preserved for generations to come

“It’s so important to remember what happened”
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:45 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - For weeks, people have been leaving flowers for the victims of the Michigan State University shooting.

Related: Counseling options available for MSU community following mass shooting

Thousands of flowers have been collected at different memorials around campus. MSU has a unique plan to preserve the flowers and the memories behind them for hundreds of years to come.

Jack Harrison, a student at MSU, said the shooting on campus will never be forgotten.

“It’s so important to remember what happened to this whole campus, especially those that we lost,” said Harrison. “What we want to do is make sure that what these artifacts represent, what these candles, what these photos represent, are never lost.”

To make sure the memories live on, volunteers came together Thursday to collect items left at memorial sites around campus.

“Any way that we can honor them, honor who they were is really important and I think we can do that many different ways,” said Harrison.

Flowers around campus will be used as mulch to grow a memorial tree or live on in pressed form with the help of the MSU Herbarium.

Matt Chansler’s job is to preserve the flowers and keep memories alive for hundreds of years.

“It’s nice to have something physical that can’t disappear,” Chansler said. “It’s sort of stable in a different way from virtual records,” said Chansler.

Chansler’s undergraduate students have played a huge role in the flower collection process.

“The reminders are going to be cleaned away eventually and this is just something permanent that people can attach their grief to,” said Claire Henley.

Henley said working with the Herbarium has helped her move forward, one petal at a time.

“It really made me appreciate the people I have and all my friends and family a lot more,” said Henley.

Signs and other memorial items left on campus will be preserved by MSU Archives and the MSU Museum. The university continues to plan for both short and longer-term memorials to help the campus heal.


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