By Marvin Pride for msuspartans.com
EAST LANSING, Michigan- It started out as a quiet idea, an important way to keep the memory of a beloved teammate alive.
Captain of the women’s rowing team Olivia Long was known for her energy and enthusiasm. She died on August 27, 2021, following a car accident on the highway while returning to MSU. The unexpected loss shook the team, sinking the entire MSU rowing community into grief.
Teammate Erica McIntee coined the phrase “Liv On”, as a small tribute to Long’s honor. Those words have grown bigger, as they will now represent a successful fundraising event for a new hull and an effort by MSU Athletics and his parents to create a scholarship in Long’s name.
The phrase “Liv On” will be used on a new $60,000 Empacher-branded racing shell, as well as select items such as wristbands and hats throughout the spring season. The boat should be delivered in February.
“I had just written her name down and I saw Liv On and, ‘Oh my God, her name says ‘Liv On’, and I thought that was a cool way to get things going,” said said McIntee.
Teammate Emilie Petrosky said she thought of Long, walking and talking with McIntee on campus in the early fall. They wanted to honor Long, but also show the good done throughout his time at MSU.
“We were on a walk, and we had the idea, ‘Oh my God, what’s a way to honor him,’ and we had the idea of making the boat so that his legacy could live on through the rowing,” Petrosky said.
During Long’s time at MSU, she earned All Big-Ten academic honors, led the team, and helped create an LGBTQ+ friendly space for the athletic community on campus called the Spartan Pride Alliance. “Everything you could expect from someone; [she was] so friendly, someone who generally cared,” Petrosky said.
rowing coach Kim Chaver describes the importance of having this boat in the MSU fleet. He will always honor Long and let future Spartans know the impact Long had on the rowing team. “The particular type of boat is made in Germany…these are Olympic level rowing hulls and they are yellow, that’s their branding, Olivia’s favorite color was yellow, and the idea appealed to me. came to buy one of these boats,” says Chavers.
The campaign to acquire the hull was eventful, with the team raising $30,000 and matching that amount to a donor. Fundraising for Long began in late November, with a campaign lasting eight days. The team launched a Crowd Power campaign to raise funds when a major surprise hit.
During “Giving Thursday”, November 30, a donor came forward, matching the $30,000 raised by the team. The anonymous donor is a supporter of the rowing community and is a Spartan alumnus.
“It warms our hearts to know that people wanted to donate to this fund and give back to the rowing community and support Olivia,” said Petrosky.