The MI Diaries project at Michigan State University started out as a way to collect short audio recordings spotlighting people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the project is being used to document the campus community’s stories related to the February 13th shooting where three students were killed and five others injured. Participants can submit audio recordings sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences via a mobile app. Over a dozen have done so at this point, as part of the project’s “The Spartan Strong” collection.

“Many diarists find that telling their story can help them reflect and process, and appreciate the opportunity to help document events in real time,” the MI Diaries page explains. Individuals can choose the level of privacy they prefer, from making their stories public to sharing anonymous excerpts to keeping submissions totally private.

“It’s been very cathartic...seeing just the range of people and the range of emotions,” MSU graduate student Jack Rechsteiner, who works to catalog the stories of diarists, said. “Also the amount of support, the amount of empathy people have been feeling over this event.” There’s a sense of shared community that has come out of the February 13th tragedy, Rechsteiner said. “Just to see all of these different very human connections, these shared experiences and how they all branch out and affect so many people in so many different ways has just been a very rewarding thing to work on for me.”

Read more about the project here.

And view the MI Diaries page here.