By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Students can tangibly reach out to the Virginia Tech campus through a written word of encouragement or a prayer of support, thanks to efforts by the Students’ Association and Spiritual Life Core.
Mark Lewis, director of Spiritual Life, said a banner is available to sign in the McGlothlin Center until Monday or Tuesday, when it will be sent to a college ministry on the Virginia Tech campus.
“There’s no ideal way to respond, and we felt the need to do something,” Lewis said. “A simple banner would be a simple way to express a deep concern.”
The banner, which reads, “Abilene Christian University is praying for you,” has messages from students like “Keep the faith, we love y’all,” and “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”
Jessica Casella, freshman English major from Spring, signed the banner Thursday, and said she thinks this is the best response from the university.
“Really, it’s all you can do,” Casella said. “Just let them know you’re there.”
For Nick Graves, sophomore theater design major from Granberry, the tragedy hit closer to home – Graves has several friends who attend the school.
“These are people just like us,” Graves said. “This could have happened anywhere.”
Graves said the quiet time in Chapel on Tuesday and the banner are both excellent ways to offer support.
“What’s better than this? What’s better than our prayers for them?” Graves said.
Students can come to the amphitheater Monday at 9 p.m. for a prayer vigil, where Lewis said 33 candles will be lit to represent each life lost in Monday’s shooting – including Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter.
“Each one of them was a life,” Lewis said. “Each one of them has a story. Each of them has family members and friends who love them.”
Lewis said he needs help from 33 students who are willing to speak on behalf of the lost lives and read a biography for each person. Anyone who is interested can contact him at email@example.com or ext. 2867.
The vigil will mark the first week after the tragedy.
“This is a way to bring a horrific reality from far away a little closer to home,” Lewis said. “Not for the sake of drama, but to really deepen our connection with these people and our connection with this loss.”