Bruins gather to grieve

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Bruins gather to grieve

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By Carolyn McGough
Friday, April 20, 2007

Tears rolled down many UCLA community members' faces in De Neve Plaza on Thursday night, as hundreds gathered to honor the memory of the victims of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Following Monday morning's shootings - in which 33 were killed, including professors and students - a vigil was planned by the Office of Residential Life and the Undergraduate Students Association Council.

Five hundred tea candles were distributed before the somber ceremony began, but there still were not enough for each person in the huge crowd that gathered, said USAC President Marwa Kaisey.

Kaisey was the first to speak, as she strived to bring community members together and encouraged them to share feelings.

"We want to show Virginia Tech support, to show that the Bruins care and have been touched by the tragedy," Kaisey said.

During the ceremony, Kaisey read the names of each of the victims in an effort to "humanize the tragedy."

A quilt will be sent to Virginia Tech to show that UCLA identifies with and cares for the Blacksburg, Va. school, she said.

Students were invited to decorate a patch for the quilt and become a direct part of the support.

Former member of the Peace Corps and UCLA Ombudsperson Donald Hartsock also spoke. He emphasized the close bond UCLA and Virginia Tech have with each other, both great American universities.

"Respectfully, I say 'Go Hokies.' And I say to us now, 'Go Bruins.' We are family," he said.

This is the largest shooting massacre in the United States that has occurred on another college campus - a campus not too unlike UCLA, she said.

Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old student at Virginia Tech, opened fire Monday morning in two buildings, killing two students in a dorm room and then 30 more in one of the buildings on campus. Afterward, Seung-Hui then proceeded to kill himself.

The gunman had mailed NBC a package containing a 23-page written statement, which exemplified a struggle he had between himself and his surrounding environment. Photos and videos were also sent of himself holding and aiming guns.

Since the event, many universities and students across the country have shown their support for the Virginia Tech community through social-networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Some students have also changed their profile pictures to Virginia Tech insignias.

Kristin Gardner, a Virginia Tech alumna from the class of 2003, attended the vigil to thank UCLA for its consideration.

Encouraging all to wear orange and maroon - the colors of Virginia Tech - students and alumni of the university have declared today as "Hokie Hope Day," she said.

Students were encouraged to seek support from friends, family and university resources, said Director of Student Psychological Services Elizabeth Gong-Guy.

"SPS wishes to offer you whatever support you need. But the best support really does come from your peers," she said.

A theme of the night portrayed by speeches and the somber environment was the closeness between UCLA and Virginia Tech students.

"Even though it seems so far away, it's an American university," said Angie Noffsinger, a fourth-year communication studies student.

"It's important for us to show that at UCLA we identify with the students at Virginia Tech."

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Original Source:<a href=http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/2007/apr/20/bruins_gather_grieve/>April 20, 2007</a>

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Carolyn McGough,

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The Daily Bruin

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2007-07-15

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Sara Hood

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Saba Riazati <editor@media.ucla.edu>

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eng

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Carolyn McGough,, "Bruins gather to grieve," in The April 16 Archive, Item #722, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/722 (accessed April 24, 2014).