First remembrance event honors fallen Lakers
GVL / Alex Ramales
Friends and family observe a moment of silence for the rememberance of the laker students, staff, and alumni who have passed away in the last year. The event was held at the base of the clocktower Thursday night and included readings of poetry and musical performances in honor of the deceased.
The Laker Traditions Team hosted a new event on campus, Laker Remembrance, to honor more than 80 Grand Valley State University students, staff and alumni who have passed away in the last year.
A crowd of about 50 students and community members gathered Thursday around the Cook Carillon Clock Tower to celebrate and remember the lives of those Lakers and to confirm the university motto, “Laker for a Lifetime.”
As names of each of the deceased were read, roses were placed at the base of the clock tower to create a small memorial. In addition, candles were passed throughout the crowd during the service, and the Cook Carillon bell rang 85 times to symbolize each of the lives lost in the past year.
“These kinds of events are important because they show that we care,” said Erika Noth, co-coordinator of the event and member of the Laker Traditions Team. “They help bring the campus together and form a sense of community throughout the student body and in the community.”
The event started off with a welcome address from Ricky Benavidez, president of the Student Senate, where he thanked those in attendance and remembered those the university has lost. In his address, he reminded the audience of the importance of devotion, honor and the true sense of togetherness that GVSU holds dear.
“While we remember the history of the university, we need to remember those who made that history and remind us all that Lakers are part of the university forever,” Benavidez said.
Following the welcoming address, a series of poems were read. Stephanie Ewart, vice president of Student Senate; Yonathan Mengsteab, funding board chair of the Interfaith Council; and Kelsey Rice of the Laker Traditions team all recited poetry.
Bringing the ceremony to an end, Euphoria—a co-ed, student-run a cappella group on campus—led all in attendance in the GVSU alma mater, and those present were invited by Benavidez to take part in the memory tree, a place for individuals to put memories of the deceased.
“You could feel the Laker spirit at the ceremony, going to show that Lakers are not forgotten,” Noth said. “There was a real community feel at the event and it helped to make the event a success.”
Following the third Laker tradition this year, the Laker Traditions Team hopes by hosting events such as Laker Remembrance that they can help to bring unique and memorable experiences to GVSU students to enhance their overall college experience.
“There was a good turnout for the first year,” said John Chadwick, Laker Remembrance co-coordinator and traditions team member. “Hopefully, as word gets out, the event will continue to grow from year to year and continue to honor those closest to us.”