The Michigan State University Tower Guard class of 2021-2022 continued the honorable legacy of the organization through their dedication towards benefitting the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. Tower Guard is a second-year student organization dedicated to serving the RCPD at MSU. Tower Guard collaborates with the RCPD to help scribe for exams, create more accessible textbooks, hold one-on-one tutoring, and build a more inclusive environment for all Spartans. Each year, the top academic achievers of the first-year class are invited to apply to this prestigious group. After a thorough interview process, approximately 80 applicants are selected for membership. They are chosen based on exemplifying leadership qualities, unwavering scholarship, outstanding character, and a commitment to service. Tower Guard alumni go on to become the highest achieving Spartans in not only Michigan and the United States, but across the globe.
This year’s Tower Guard class started their year together in the midst of MSU navigating safe and effective education while facing the Covid-19 pandemic. MSU faced an adjustment curve as they welcomed students back to campus in the fall of 2021, after requiring students to partake in virtual learning for over a year. Not only was the transition back to in-person learning a challenge for MSU administration and faculty, but it also proved to be difficult for all students, who had just grown accustomed to online learning. The 2021-2022 Tower Guard class spent their first semester on campus in the fall of 2021, even though they had attended MSU for a year prior. While learning the ropes of campus life and adjusting to the stress of being away from home for the first time, this class of Tower Guard members remained dedicated to the mission of the organization and provided significant contributions to the RCPD through their time together.
The year started with the class voting for their 2021-2022 Executive Board. These individuals hit the ground running and led the organization with grace and determination. The first major project that Tower Guard completed together was the Homecoming Parade, which gave members the opportunity to get to know one another while spreading the word about Tower Guard! The theme of the group’s float was “The Game of Life”. This represented a student’s journey from freshman year to senior year, complete with all the challenges and good times a student may experience along the way. The group then hosted their first social event, the Beaumont Bash. Tower Guard members and RCPD students played games, enjoyed snacks, and raised funds for the RCPD. The group also led Tower Tours in the fall semester. Maren Case, historian, reflects on this by saying, “As the only student organization with a key to the Tower, we have the unique privilege of opening it up to the public. With pandemic restrictions lifting, we were so excited to share, in-person, the Tower’s rich history with the community.” Members escorted visitors to the top of the Tower and collaborated with the carillonneur’s to share the music of the iconic Tower bells. In between these larger events, members continued to host fundraisers and raise disability awareness. Members also got to know each other better through study sessions within the Beaumont Tower, fall tailgates, general meetings, volunteering together, and other social events—building a community with the group as they united for the organization’s cause.
In the spring, the group held a raffle to win a Valentine’s day dinner within the walls of the decorated Beaumont Tower. Members also continued to progress in their work through Impact Teams, Spartan Study, and Spartan Ties in order to strengthen connections between Tower Guard members, as well as build relationships with RCPD students. The majority of the group’s efforts in the spring were dedicated towards the annual Shamrock 5K. On a snowy day in late-March, race participants young and old bundled up to attend Tower Guard’s largest fundraiser of the year. The event was a huge success, and every dollar donated went directly towards benefitting the students of the RCPD.
Ellie Friedman, President of the Tower Guard class of 2021-2022, reflects on the group’s accomplishments by saying, “It was a great year, and I’m so proud of all that our class did to adapt to pandemic circumstances and embrace new opportunities that the hybrid model afforded us. From a very snowy Shamrock 5k to a rainy May’s Morning Sing, we had the opportunity to experience Tower Guard’s signature events in unique conditions. I couldn’t be prouder of E-Board and my new Tower Guard family for all that we’ve accomplished this year, and on behalf of our cohort, I’d like to thank the RCPD’s staff and students, the Council for Students with Disabilities, the Adaptive Sports Club, ASMSU, and so many other campus communities for your partnership. Even though the Tower Guard Class of 2021-2022 has completed our year, our time working together is far from over. I am looking forward to seeing what all of us continue to do in the collective effort for disability justice and accessibility on campus!”
Visit this link to view the end-of-year video that 2021-2022 Historian Maren Case created, which summarizes the group’s accomplishments and fun times throughout their year together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OsnnnPBnbo