Student View: Belonging to the Spartan Family

Alexandra Allers is graduating this December with a double major in Social Relations and Policy in James Madison College and English in the College of Arts & Letters, as well as a minor in Educational Studies. During her time at MSU, Allers has been involved in the pre-law fraternity Kappa Alpha Pi, and served on the executive boards of the Council of Students with DisabilitiesMSU Leader Dogs for the Blind Club, and Tower Guard. She is currently interning with the Michigan Head Start Association, where she has enjoyed working on communication efforts for the organization. After graduating from MSU, Allers plans to gain more work experience before pursuing further education in graduate or law school.

woman with dark brown hair and smiling with arm around a light yellow dog.
Alexandra Allers and Leo, Alexandra’s leader dog, pose for a photo in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, in March 2021 as they completed the Shamrock 5K for Tower Guard to fundraise for the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. 

When I began thinking about where I wanted to attend college, I was hesitant to leave the only home I had ever known, and I was especially unsure about MSU. The sheer size of the campus overwhelmed me, and I thought there was no way I would ever feel any sense of belonging amidst thousands of students I did not know. However, the moment I stepped onto campus for a tour, I immediately knew that MSU was the place for me.

As a blind individual, I value inclusion and accessibility, and I have always felt a sense of acceptance and camaraderie within the Spartan community. The services provided by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), such as accessible braille or electronic materials and assistance with campus orientation and navigation, have played a crucial role in my success at MSU. All of the faculty, staff, and students I have interacted with over the years have been understanding and willing to implement any accommodations I might need. No matter where I go, there is always a fellow Spartan there willing to support and empower me. 

Since I was young, I was told that I could do anything I set my mind to, even if that meant doing things in a slightly different way than my sighted peers, and this is the sentiment I have carried with me throughout my MSU journey. Although I rely on assistive technology to access coursework and navigate campus with the aid of a guide dog, I share many commonalities with my fellow Spartans and strive to maximize my college experience.

During my time at MSU, I have tried to step out of my comfort zone, get involved, and meet new people. I have joined a variety of student organizations, held executive board positions in some of these groups, completed internships, and participated in JMC Career Exposure trips to California and Washington, D.C. Each time I pursued a new experience or challenged myself, I was consistently encouraged and uplifted by Spartans who became integral members of my MSU family.

I decided to apply to be the student commencement speaker this fall because of the profound impact the MSU community has had on me. Through my remarks, I hope to express what it means to be a part of the Spartan family and the ways in which we come together to celebrate times of triumph but also unite to support one another during moments of adversity. I am truly honored and grateful for the opportunity to share this message of community and inclusion, and I am beyond thankful that I was able to find a home at MSU.

(Originally published by James Madison College)