A large and somber crowd of people gathered around the Tivoli Commons on Thursday July 26, to pay their respects and honor the memory of those lost in the tragic Aurora shooting late last week.
The vigil, organized for and by Auraria Campus students, was held to honor the all of the shooting victims, specifically those that were connected to the campus and the schools within. Photos of Alex Sullivan, a CCD graduate; Jessica Ghawi, a MSU Denver student; and Veronica Moser-Sullivan, a six-year-old who attended an Auraria daycare were surrounded by candles and words of prayer.
The event began with some opening words from MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan, who tried to console the participants.
“It is our responsibility to them (the victims) and ourselves to continue what we are here to do, which is change peoples lives for the better” said Jordan, suggesting that while students should move on from the tragedy, they should still remember those who were lost.
The president’s speech was followed by a the reading of poem called “We remember them” that was read by the CCD, and MSU Denver student government members. Ruth Possehl, Clinical Supervisor of the UCD counseling center, spoke briefly on the impact of the losses that people have endured and the services that were available to students in need counseling.
“This experience is an ocean of grief” said Possehl, she then explained that there are islands of respite, which the students form together in support of those affected by the shooting. As a stronger form of support for the students the offices of counseling for all three schools had booths at the event.
Afterword Gordon Hamby, UCD student body president, played a moving song on the guitar. The song that he sang was dedicated to the people lost in the shooting. Many people were moved to tears by the lyrics of the song.
The event ended with the releasing of doves to bagpipes playing “amazing grace”. The white was meant to represent mental clarity and easing thoughts and the doves meant to symbolize a peaceful passing for those who have died.
MSU Denver is going to continue to honor the loss of student Jessica Ghawi in a number of different ways. MSU Denver plans to grant Ghawi a posthumous degree. The Communication Arts and Sciences department also plans to put up a memory board were students can write messages to the Ghawi family. They also plan to a day or event dedicated to women in sports broadcasting, honoring Ghawi’s passion.