MI Diaries is Spartan Strong
Share your story
We invite all members of the Spartan community, wherever you are, to contribute to our Spartan Strong audio story collection, about the violence we experienced on February 13, 2023 and the ways we have responded individually and as a community.
MI Diaries is a Michigan State University research project that has been documenting everyday life in Michigan via audio diaries since April 2020. People record their own voices and send in their diaries using our mobile app (for iOS and Android). Many diarists find that telling their story can help them reflect and process, and appreciate the opportunity to help document events in real time.
Don’t want to make your story public? That’s okay: We can keep your submission totally private, or share anonymized excerpts on our website, and/or give a copy of your full, anonymized story to the Library of Michigan for its archive. You choose the level of privacy. Click the button below to sign up, then download the app to get started.
You can simply tell your story, or you can respond to one or more of these questions to get started.
- If you feel comfortable sharing, what was your experience of Monday, February 13 and the violence at MSU? How did you first hear about it?
- Many institutions around East Lansing opened their doors for free to MSU community members in response to the violence at MSU (Potter Park Zoo, county parks, the planetarium). If you’re in the area, have you been taking advantage of any of these opportunities?
- What is one small thing that brought you joy recently? One of our team members has a stray cat that comes to visit every few days, and this week he was finally brave enough to eat some treats.
- What is something you’ve done to help someone who is hurting? What’s something that someone else has done for you?
- Have you had any other experience where a community came together to get through a difficult time? Tell us about it.
- When you are upset, what is something that brings you comfort? Is there a particular food, or a TV show that is comforting to you?
- What are you grateful for this week?
- What are you looking forward to next week?
At this time, anyone aged 3+ who is currently living in Michigan can sign up for the MI Diaries project. For this special collection, we are expanding participation to include anyone who identifies as a Michigander (regardless of where you live right now), and anyone who considers themselves to be a Spartan.
YES. This is your audio diary. Use your voice. Express your feelings.
No. MI Diaries values authenticity. This means that you should record yourself in whichever language is most comfortable for you, or a mix of languages.
No. You can record yourself just once, or you can join our community of regular diarists. You can also stop and start as many times as you like over the weeks and months to come.
MI Diaries has been running for 3 years, and we expect to run for several more years. After you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email with new questions and prompts to respond to, if you wish. You can let us know at email@example.com if you want us to stop sending those emails, or just click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of any of our emails.
You just need to download the free MI Diaries app, which can be found in the App Store and in Google Play. This means you can use any recording device – like your phone or a tablet.
When you record, try to make sure there is as little background noise as possible, and that you maintain a regular distance from your microphone – this make the audio as clear as possible. We recommend sitting in a room with lots of soft furniture. For more info, see our FAQ page.
Participation in MI Diaries does not cost anything at all. Everyone receives a $5 Amazon gift card for each week that they contribute 15 minutes or more of audio diary.
MI Diaries typically picks a few stories each week to feature, that represent the range of things we’re hearing from diarists that week. But when an event happens that impacts a lot of people, or we hear a lot of stories about a single topic, we sometimes make a special collection about that topic. In a special collection, we try to pick a few featured stories that represent the range of things we have been hearing from diarists.
Our past special collections includes: (1) Our listening garden playlist, which is a selection of 22 stories spanning the pandemic in Michigan, April 2020 – January 2022; (2) the overturning of Roe v. Wade; (3) the 2022 Oxford High school shooting.
Community members far and wide have come together with creative ways to support each other. One additional concrete way to support Spartans impacted by these events is to give to the Spartan Strong Fund.
If you or a Spartan you know needs help during this time, please connect with MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services and or the Employee Assistance Program. You can find more information at https://msu.edu/emergency. If you’re not a student or employee at MSU, you can find free resources through the state of Michigan’s Stay Well initiative, or the national crisis counseling helpline.