by Amanda Webster
Hundreds of members of the CCSU community came together Tuesday night to honor and mourn the lives tragically taken in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.
Twenty-six candles were lit at the front of Alumni Hall representing the teachers and children who were killed at the school and few dry eyes were seen as a video portraying the victims played.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura Tordenti said that the entire University has been deeply saddened by the events in Newtown for there were members of the Central community who were directly affected by the tragedy.
Principal of Sandy Hook, Dawn Hochsprung, was one of the victims and also a graduate of CCSU. Another victim, Ana Marquez-Greene, the six-year-old daughter of faculty member Nelba Marquez-Greene, was one of the 20 children killed in the violence Friday morning.
“We are all of us touched by this tragedy,” said Provost Carl Lovitt. “Connecticut is such a small state. Our collective grief is so much harder to bear because the events touch so close to everybody’s home.”
Survivors of the shooting Laura Swanson, Maryrose Kristopik, and Kathleen Reynolds are all teachers at Sandy Hook who graduated from CCSU.
“Tonight’s vigil is an opportunity for the community to come together to offer comfort and to really honor those who were killed and also to offer love and support to each other,” said Tordenti.
Tordenti welcomed students and faculty at the beginning of the vigil on behalf of President Miller who was not able to be on campus during the time of the ceremony.
“Our hearts ache for the family members and friends of those who died,” Tordenti expressed to the members of the crowd.
Outside of Alumni tables were set up for students and faculty to trace their hands and write a message of encouragement for the community of Newtown. Green and white ribbons were also passed out to those who attended the vigil in honor of the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary.
John Campbell of the CCSU Campus Ministry also spoke to those who attended the vigil.
“I don’t have any words to soften what happened at Sandy Hook,” Campbell said. “It was terrible and will have repercussions on those involved for the rest of their lives.”
Campbell said that though there were not words to make the events of Friday better, there are ways for members of the community to reach out and offer help to those suffering.
“We need to step up and be there for those who seek our help,” Campbell said. “Not only that, but we need to look for those who need our help.”
Lovitt said that it was important for everyone to take the time to listen to one another in an attempt to make sense of what has happened.
“We are those who care deeply about the pain of people we don’t even know because we can imagine their sorrow and their loss,” said Lovitt.