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Following Campus Violence, Ad Mgmt. Student Finds Security with MSU Art Winterguard

Following Campus Violence, Ad Mgmt. Student Finds Security with MSU Art Winterguard

By: Paige Higley
Spartan Strong Photo Credit: Michigan State University

Editor’s Note: Following the violence our Michigan State University campus community experienced in February 2023, many original content plans for The Brief’s SS23 PR 320 student editorial team were no longer feasible or appropriate.

In that event, writers took alternate approach developing PR stories about themselves as students in our AD+PR community. For those students who found it healing or helpful, content focus shifted to experiences resulting from our campus violence, in classes the week after, access to departmental/campus resources or support, or involvement in campus and/or community events – especially those related to and connected with the Department of Advertising + Public Relations.

This special #SpartanStrong Issue of The Brief contains digital and video content related to the events surrounding MSU violence campus experienced in February 2023. To access crisis support resources and updates, please visit


Dancers kneeling, hugging in a moment of silence
The State of Art team supporting each other at their first competition following the campus shooting.

Feb. 13, 2023 began as a bright and joyful day for third-year advertising management student, Paige Higley, as this day was her birthday. This joy, however, quickly turned to terror as violence and tragedy took over the campus. Following the senseless violence, Higley left the campus like majority of the MSU student body. After experiencing such violence, Higley never could’ve imagined that the feeling of returning to campus could rival the fear she felt on the day of the event.

“After having some time at home with my family to heal, I thought coming back to campus would be fairly easy. Once I got back, however, going back to class felt near impossible,” said Higley.

While Higley says she felt paralyzed and unable to go to classes, there was one thing that brought her back to campus, and that was her team at State of Art Winterguard. State of Art Winterguard is a student organization at MSU and one of several organizations with ties to the Spartan Marching Band. The team at State of Art resumed their rehearsals almost two weeks after the incident. These rehearsals, however, were focused more on team bonding and creating a sense of safety than intense practicing. The team’s director, Emily Rogers, hosted the group in her home, providing them with food and a space to try to heal. The team supporting each other and being a safe space for one another gave Higley the confidence to come back to campus.

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“Although it was difficult at first, I eventually felt safe enough to come back to campus and return to classes. Knowing there’s a group of people who care about me has given me the strength to try and carry on with my semester and my life,” said Higley.

State of Art attended their first competition following the tragedy on March 4, attending a regional competition to qualify the team for world championships. Although Higley says the team was nervous to get back out on the floor, the audience supported them and watched the group score high.

“I’ve never felt so supported by and connected to my team,” Higley said.  Although we all have to work through the tragedy in our own ways, being there for each other is so important and supportive. I know that I have the team’s back and they have mine, and together we will move forward.”

To access crisis support resources and updates, please visit