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Trinity University Students Support Virginia Tech During Trying Times
By Susie P. Gonzalez

Trinity Students, led by ASR senator Nick Shockey, have created a banner with the message "Our hearts and minds are with you" to send condolences to the students and faculty at Virginia Tech. Members of the Trinity community can write a personal message on the banner, which will be in the Coates Center and in Mabee Hall, until Friday, April 20. The banner will then be sent to the Virginia Tech student government

With apologies to former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who coined the phrase, “all politics is local,” tragedies can have local connections, too. Nearly 10 days after the Virginia Tech campus shootings, word reached Trinity officials that a banner signed by students, staff, and faculty had not only been received by the grief-stricken university but that the student who opened the package had a Trinity connection. The student’s aunt, Shelby Dodd ’64 of Newport News , Va., said her niece was touched by the heartfelt gesture from Trinity.

“She said it looked like every student in the University had signed the banner,” Dodd said in a telephone message to officials with Campus and Community Involvement. Dodd said Trinity students should be proud of having sent “this wonderful banner” to a school located thousands of miles away and filled with strangers. Even better is the fact that the Virginia Tech student who unfurled the banner from Trinity was no stranger to the San Antonio campus.

“It certainly speaks to the Trinity connections that exist in the world,” said Becky Spurlock, director of Campus and Community Involvement.

The idea for a banner came from Nick Shockey, a senator with the Association of Student Representatives, who said other schools sent banners of support when a student from his high school in Nashville, Tenn., died. He has another friend who attends Virginia Tech and he could not immediately reach her after a gunman opened fire April 16 on a residence hall and several classrooms, killing 32 people before ultimately taking his own life. (The friend was all right.) He said his friend at Virginia Tech wrote him a Facebook message saying, "I saw your banner is up in the student center. It’s pretty crazy in there, I’ve never seen so much support in my life.” Shockey said he was pleased to see that Trinity’s banner individually touched people, and added, “I think the incredible number of signatures that made the banner so touching reflects very favorably on the Trinity community and shows the high level of caring and involvement our community has.”

Trinity President John Brazil was one of the particpants in the interfaith service.

Two other Trinity students – Anna Grossman and Alex Cornell – just couldn’t pass up the request from Virginia Tech to stand in solidarity with the Virginia school on April 20 by wearing their colors, orange and maroon, and holding a candlelight vigil and prayer service. They organized an interfaith healing service that was held in the Great Hall. Speakers included John R. Brazil, president of Trinity, and the Rev. Stephen Nickle, chaplain of the University. Offering prayers from a variety of faith traditions were Grossman, who chanted a Jewish prayer; Cornell, who said a Christian prayer; and Joe Tognetti, who recited a Catholic prayer. Other speakers were Dilpreet Sidhu, representing the Sikh tradition; Dina Sayyed, Muslim; and Meena Alagappan, Hindu.

 
More than 100 students, faculty and staff gathered in the Great Hall on Friday, April 20, for a candlelight vigil and healing service to remember the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy.
 
University Chaplain Stephen Nickle (left) and several Trinity students light candles during the service. Each candle on the table respresented a person killed during the tragedy.

 


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