Students, faculty and staff gathered for a march to remember their friend, fellow band member and peer, who died on campus Wednesday.
The gathering came a day after the 20-year-old male undergraduate student died in what university officials believe to be a suicide. The march and reflection on the student*, a member of the Thunder of the East Marching Band, allowed community members to come together, grieve and show their support for one another.
The gathering began at 7:15 p.m. outside Slee Hall as hundreds of community members quietly lit candles and huddled together on the sidewalk. A march, led by band members, later went through Alumni Arena and onto the field of UB Stadium.
There, community members –– along with the student’s family –– gathered to offer their thoughts on the student. One of the student’s family members said seeing hundreds of students showing their support “means a lot” to them. The family member reflected on the student’s kindness, intelligence and willingness to help when others needed it.
Students from across majors and disciplines were in attendance. Engineering students said they wanted to support “one of their own,” as the student who died Wednesday studied in their field.
“We want to show support for everyone, we’re all engineers, this is an important thing to do, it’s our community,” said Corey Van Auken, an aerospace and mechanical engineering major. “If you’re part of UB, it’s important to show your respect, even though we may not have a personal connection with him, it’s important for the family.”
Freshmen Payton Stachewicz and Alayna Dinapoli emphasized the importance of unity following Wednesday’s tragedy.
“I think it’s really great that we can all come together in a time like this,” Dinapoli said.
UB President Satish Tripathi wrote in an email Thursday to community members that the university’s “hearts go out to his family, friends and classmates as they cope with their tremendous heartbreak and grief.”
“As we respect the privacy of the family, we wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to all of our student’s loved ones,” Tripathi wrote. “We ask that you keep them in your thoughts in the coming days as we join them in mourning the tragic loss of a member of our UB family.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health emergency or concern, there are a number of resources:
Call University Police immediately at 716-645-2222.
If you are stressed or in need of someone to talk to, contact UB’s Counseling Services at 716-645-2720 on North Campus or 716-829-5800 on South Campus.
If you are in a crisis situation, contact Crisis Services of Western New York’s 24/7 hotline at 716-834-3131.
Students can also text the Crisis Text Line by sending “GOT5” to 741-741.
*The Spectrum has chosen not to name the student out of respect for the family’s privacy.
Benjamin Blanchet is the senior engagement editor for The Spectrum. His words have been seen in The Buffalo News (Gusto) and The Sun newspapers of Western New York. Loves cryptoquip and double-doubles.