The importance of a campus memorial

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As Jack eloquently alluded to in the Brunch Links today, yesterday saw the loss of UW-student Neha Suri to bacterial meningitis. Like Jack, I also did not know her, but I imagine a few of our readers did based on her major and work at the DC among other things.

A memorial for Neha organized by the University was held earlier today. At the end of the memorial, it was reported (though I can’t find a written source right now) that rather than a moment of silence or prayer, Neha’s family requested that Dean of Students Lori Berquam lead attendees in a rendition of “Varsity.”

It has always been a theory of mine that the reason I can not find a UW alum who rates their years in Madison as anything less than exceptional is because of the expansiveness of our campus’s community, which allows for an experience in which there is something for everyone. However, this expansiveness also has the potential to lead to a feeling of isolation and a lack of community amongst students.

That is why, in addition to remembering the departed, memorials organized by campus officials, with members of the administration in attendance, and which garner coverage from campus papers, are important in solidifying and reinforcing a necessary sense of community so easily lost on such a vast campus.

We are not a private college where everyone often knows everyone; and thank God for that. But, at certain times it is important that we act like one.

May she rest in peace.

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