EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Before Tuesday night’s Spartan basketball game inside the Breslin Center, a crowd gathered outside to grieve and lean on each other for support after February 13’s mass shooting at MSU.

Battery-powered candles and signs of support greeted people outside of the MSU auditorium.
Vigil organizers said they wanted to foster a space for healing. Among the tears, students offered words of encouragement to fellow Spartans.

“As time continues on, I know in every battle that will come, that we all have the strength of a Spartan and the light of Arielle, Alexandria and Brian within us,” said student Maya Moore.

The mood among the crowd was one of heartbreak and frustration as moments of silence spoke volumes.

Interim President Teresa Woodruff was at the vigil. She pushed a message of unity to the sea of green and white.

“When some would have thought that we would pull apart, we have drawn closer to each other,” she said.

The MSU marching band put that feeling into music to mark the end of the vigil.

The same feeling of unity flowed into the Breslin Center, as staff welcomed fans for the first home basketball game since the shooting. Students at the door passed out “Spartan Strong” stickers to everyone no matter the school colors they were representing.

“It’s all about love, in times like this you have to be there for each other,” said Indiana fan Connor Hollman.

For Spartan fans and students that call East Lansing home, Tuesday night was more than just a game of basketball.

“It doesn’t matter about a rivalry, it doesn’t matter who we play tonight and who we play on Thursday. It’s about being able to be here and watch it,” said Hannah Trezise, an MSU fan.

While some students say they have been grateful for the support across the country and the state, it’s going to be a while before they feel comfortable being back at MSU’s campus.