On September 7, 2021, Tower Guard held its annual May’s Morning Sing induction ceremony, welcoming the newest class of members to the organization. Ishaan Modi, 2020-2021 Tower Guard Vice President, and Tushya Mehta, 2020-2021 Tower Guard Secretary, coordinated this event under the guidance of Liz Fuller, RCPD Leadership Development Specialist and lead Tower Guard advisor.
Due to Covid-19, many traditional aspects of May’s Morning Sing had to be altered, including the Tower Guard application process and the date and location of the ceremony. This proved to be a challenge for Ishaan and Tushya, but nevertheless, they persevered. Ishaan remarks, “May’s Morning Sing was a continually adapting event. The most interesting part about it was that we were planning an in-person event all behind our Zoom screens – May's Morning Sing was the first major indoor in-person event for me since before the pandemic.”
Typically, May’s Morning Sing is held in April, on an early morning outside of Beaumont Tower. Parents and loved ones join the inductees in the evening to celebrate their accomplishment. However, since so few people were on campus during the spring semester due to pandemic restrictions, it was determined that the ceremony needed to be hosted in the fall semester instead. In the past, Inductees are unaware of whether or not they have been accepted into Tower Guard before May’s Morning Sing. Friends and family are encouraged to work in creative ways to get the inductee to Beaumont Tower early in the morning for the surprise induction ceremony. Whether it be an early morning “coffee date” with friends or being wheeled to the Tower in a green cart while still in pajamas, all inductees are brought together to the Tower, where they are welcomed into Tower Guard. Instead, this year, applicants were notified of their status shortly after their interviews so they could make plans to safely attend the induction ceremony. Since it was a rainy day, the ceremony was hosted inside the MSU Union Ballroom and was limited to only inductees and distinguished guests. The event was also livestreamed over Zoom so that family members and additional guests could support their student virtually. Ishaan comments, “I am hoping future years will consider this flexibility post-Covid, considering that many of our inductees may be from Northern Michigan and/or out-of-state, making it infeasible for their family members to attend.”
The ceremony included speeches from notable MSU students and faculty, which inspired and motivated the inductees. Opening remarks were made by Madeleine Russell, President of the Tower Guard class of 2020-2021. Dr. Jabbar Bennett, MSU’s Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, and Mr. Vennie Gore, Senior Vice President of MSU Residential and Hospitality Services and Auxiliary Enterprises, attended the ceremony as well, each attesting to the impact of Tower Guard at MSU. Mr. Michael Hudson, Director of the MSU RCPD, spoke next, where he emphasized his appreciation for the work of Tower Guard members. Ishaan followed Mr. Hudson and encouraged inductees to promote diversity and inclusion at MSU. The final speaker was Lead Advisor Liz Fuller, who expressed her excitement for the potential of the upcoming class. Members were then sworn into Tower Guard, where they each received a red rose (a Tower Guard tradition). The history of May’s Morning Sing was also acknowledged in hopes of bridging the gap between previous years and this year.
The Tower Guard class of 2021-2022 had their first general meeting on September 10, where Liz detailed more elements of Tower Guard, such as Impact Teams and Executive Board positions. The class demonstrated enthusiasm in the work of Tower Guard and was eager to get started. Welcome, Tower Guard class of 2021-2022, and thank you for your dedication to the RCPD!