As the reality of the ACU’s weekend tragedy sets in, faculty, staff and students in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences have begun to consider their next steps. And finding that way forward may take time, say faculty and students.
For now, the department remains focused on honoring and assisting the victims.
Department chair Ed Brokaw said he hopes the department’s and university’s response will pay respect where it is due. And he hopes the ag department’s response will help lead the recovery process.
“We have the best students here at ACU, and so many have already lent a hand when it was needed,” Brokaw said. “We need to continue this support and help each other through this very difficult time.”
The department and other university officials planned to meet Sunday night to decide which classes would meet during the coming week. Brokaw acknowledged most students will have a difficult time focusing while some classmates and professors are recovering from the wreck and others remain in the hospital.
The bus crashed en route to Medina, where the department does community service at a children’s home every year. The accident took the life of Anabel Reid, a sophomore environmental science major from Petersburg, and sent 11 students, three faculty members and a spouse to four area hospitals with varying injuries.
Colton McInturff, junior animal science major from Franklin, intended to go on the annual service project but had to drop out earlier in the week. He said he remained stunned by the tragedy.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I think everyone is having trouble accepting what has happened.”
The entire university has reached out to the department and those involved with the accident, said McInturff, an officer in the Agricultural and Environmental Science club.
“I have plans to honor Anabel and those affected by this tragic accident. There are a lot of unknowns right now, and I think everyone is still in a bit of shock.”
McInturff, along with other representatives of the department, plans to meet with university administrators to finalize campus-wide initiatives to reach out to students as well as honor Anabel and those involved.
Many students have already been involved in spreading support. A candlelight vigil took place on campus Friday night, and another service was scheduled for Sunday night at University Church of Christ. Several department students are planning on attending a celebration of life service for Anabel in Lubbock on Wednesday as well, McInturff said.