Gators Reach Out to VA Tech Through Banners
Gators to Send Hokies Condolence Banners
April 25, 2007 1:09 PM
The small town of Blacksburg, Virginia is 3,000 miles from the big city of San Francisco. Yet the distance seemed nonexistent this past week as students sent their condolences to Virginia Tech.
Last Thursday, the staff and governing board of the Cesar Chavez Student Center set up an 18-foot long banner for students and faculty to write their condolences.
“We put out a banner last Thursday at 4 o’clock and the next morning as I was walking in I thought ‘Oh my God, what happens if nobody signed it?’ When I saw it was completely full I almost cried,” said Mary Keller, assistant director for program services at the student center.
According to Keller, the banners were initially intended to be displayed for a week, but were taken down by Monday because of the overwhelming responses. The six banners were sent to the Virginia Tech student center on Tuesday.
“I think it’s amazing we are doing this,” said Morgan Davison, whose brother goes to Virginia Tech. “Although it took place far away, there are still people here who have been really affected.”
An Africana studies major, Davison, who took part in writing a message on a banner, said that anything SF State can do is enough.
Students wrote spiritual messages such as “God bless you” and “I am lighting candles for you.” Along with light-hearted messages including one that read “in behalf of the people of Raider nation, may we extend our sorrow and condolences to all in Va. Tech.”, from “Fitz,” who included a drawing of the Raider logo crying.
“I think there was a real need for it,” Keller said. “People really poured out their hearts.”
An e-mail from the executive director of the Associated College Union International (ACUI) was sent out to all colleges, including SF State’s student center, encouraging campuses to take part in supporting Virginia Tech.
”People from across the nation, even the world have sent so many messages,” Julie Walters-Steele, Virginia Tech’s director of University Unions, said. “I think for the students it’s been very uplifting and they have appreciated it.”
Walters-Steele said that they have received help in putting up the banners from other schools’ student centers’ staff, including Virginia Commonwealth, James Madison and Radford University.
“The outpouring has been unbelievable,” said Timothy Reed, who came from VCU over the weekend to help ease the union’s load. “A lot of students were coming to the student center to read the messages. It has made a tremendous difference.”
Reed said that not only have other colleges been sending messages, teddy bears and banners, but Girl Scouts troops and elementary schools have also been involved.
“We have hung banners on every free space we could find,” Reed said. “I don’t want to bang on the media, but all they want is the negative out of this. And this has been one of the positive things to come out of it.”
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