Sykes Student Union was used in its truest sense on Monday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. A vigil was held to mourn the loss of the 32 Virginia Tech massacre victims. More than 800 people of the West Chester University community gathered on the front and side steps and apron of Sykes. All day before, Student Government Association (SGA) senators were seen hanging gold and maroon t-shirts, Virginia Tech’s colors, along the railings of Sykes. The t-shirts wielded the names of various families who express their condolences.
Kyle Mullins, president of SGA, was throughout Sykes on Monday tying up loose ends and checking the efficiency of equipment such as the speakers and the microphone.
A banner was available in Sykes for students to sign their names and write messages to those grieving the loss at Virginia Tech.
However, what was particularly notable about this event was despite its short-notice, at 8 p.m. sharp, the WCU band set in with “Amazing Grace”, and the mourners stood in silence.
Some students were wearing gold-not in support of West Chester-but in support of their, according to Mullins, fallen classmates in Virginia.
Mullins indicated that although students may not have known them personally, the students can still grieve a loss of a friend in that students were aligned with the deceased future goals.
“We must become their legacy,” Mullins said.
Mullins said students here in fact are safe, and that they are for a reason.
“Tragedies like those at Virginia Tech bring a shocking reminder of how fleeting life is and how petty our differences can be,” Mullins said.
After the speeches, the lighting of the candles began.
This process, devoid of disorganization, allowed the WCU community to witness a pattern of consecutive candles being lit.
During this, Amazing Grace was sang several times. The candle-lighting segment, despite the noise from traffic, held the community in silence. After Mullins thanked the participants and ended the vigil, students were still standing in silence minutes after the dismissal.
According to College of Arts and Sciences Senator, Alyssa Conaway, ’10, all cell phones were turned off during the vigil and a car that drove by with speakers at a high volume, lowered the volume as a result of the gathering. She said that the actual start of the vigil was 7:57 p.m.
Ultimately, the vigil and its participants allowed WCU students to say, “Today, we are all Hokies.