With all eyes on Boston during a series of tragic events, Edmonds-Woodway High School graduate Alex Springer — now a freshman at MIT — has had quite a week.
Springer, a 2012 E-W grad who also served as a student representative on the Edmonds City Council last year, called My Edmonds News Friday morning to describe his experiences during the days following the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 170 Monday — and the shooting of an MIT campus police officer Thursday night.
On Friday, the mechanical engineering major was on lockdown in his MIT dorm with fellow students, as police searched the Boston area and beyond for the second of two suspects in Monday’s bombing. The first suspect was killed by police Thursday night after an MIT campus police officer was shot and killed on campus.
“I was in my dorm when the shooting happened,” Springer said, adding that he had friends studying late in classroom laboratories who had to be evacuated when the shooting occurred around 10 p.m.
According to Springer, the shooting followed a week of heightened security on the MIT campus, with students and staff encouraged to reported suspicious activities. “Everyone has been hyper-vigilant,” he said. And now, with the officer’s death, “there are a lot of people wearing black today on campus,” he added.
“We received notification at 5:30 a.m. (Friday) that classes were cancelled,” Springer said. “We’re hoping that it will be over soon so that we can get back to normal.” It’s the third time this year that classes at MIT have been cancelled — the other two days were the result of a hurricane and a snowstorm. Such cancellations are a rarity for school known for its rigorous academic programs.
Springer said there was no food service in his dorm Friday, as employees did not come to work as a safety precaution; he and fellow students were pooling the food they had from their dorm rooms until the lockdown was lifted.
“Boston has turned into a ghost town,” Springer said.
It turns out that Springer, who ran cross country for E-W, participated in last Monday’s Boston Marathon as a “Bandit” — a group of unofficial marathon runners who start about five minutes behind the starters because they either haven’t officially qualified for the race or didn’t want to pay the entrance fee. He crossed the finish line about 30 minutes before the bombs exploded.
The son of Edmonds residents Shawn and Sonja Springer, Springer recalled texting his mother to let her know he was OK, as he wasn’t able to get through on his cell phone. He also posted a status update on his Facebook page to assure other family and friends that he was safe.
Springer said he was visiting a fraternity house when all campus housing was put into lockdown following the bombing, and he wasn’t allowed to return to his dorm room until Monday night.
While he will finish his first year at MIT in late May, Springer won’t return to Edmonds until later this summer. That’s because he’ll be traveling to India to participate in stem cell research through a company there. (His mechanical engineering major focuses on the use of medical devices.)
And for those who remember Springer’s reputation on the Edmonds City Council for asking well-thought-out questions and actively participating in council discussions — the 19-year-old said he hasn’t lost his passion for government involvement.
“I’m still thinking about local politics and how I can participate in the future,” Springer said. While he doesn’t have time currently to become involved in MIT student government, he said he has been taking leadership roles in other campus organizations, such as Engineers Without Borders, and is “keeping my doors open” for future political opportunities.