Virginia Tech shootings connects

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

As I rushed to class Monday morning, I found myself pausing to absorb the campus atmosphere.

There was something about students walking to class that made me smile. I looked up at the sky and was reminded of how wonderful it is to be a part of a university community. I blamed my approaching graduation for the overly emotional feelings and continued on to class. Little did I realize what was happening at that moment on a college campus, not unlike SDSU, half a country away.

When I first read about the Virginia Tech tragedy, my stomach formed a nasty pit of knots and my tears started to swell. As I learned more, it tore a deeper hole in my heart. Finally, I broke down as one student described his classroom being ambushed with bullets. I cried because he and I both started the day as college students just going to class.

As a college student, it’s hard to not put the events of April 16 in the perspective of your own environment. What happened in Blacksburg, Va., makes college students across the country think about their own campus and their own university community. Is SDSU safe? Could this happen at SDSU? If it did, would the authorities make the proper decisions?

One of the most disappointing things about a tragedy like this is that the controversies surrounding the shootings will take precedence over the fact that 33 people lost their lives. For the next several weeks, there will be countless reports and in-depth pieces about gun control, pressures faced by college students, university crisis policies, campus safety, the future of VT, etc. But we can’t let that overshadow the fact that university students and faculty members wrongfully died on their own campus.

As members of a university community, we are a family. Students bond over hatred for classes, participation in campus organizations or the sheer fact that they cheer for the same school mascot. And, as a family, we endure tragedy and triumph together – whether it is the mourning of a student death or the celebration of an athletic championship.

Now, a fellow university community is in need. It has been ripped at the seams and is facing a long road to recovery. Like one family would help another family, SDSU needs to help VT. It’s easy to point fingers at an administration 1,300 miles away, but the SDSU community is better than that. We need to stand up and support the students and faculty of VT, and remind them we are by their side.

No matter what campus you were on April 16, 2007, on that day, you were a Hokie. Please remember that as that day’s events unfold and Virginia Tech tries to rebuild. Whether it be through donations or prayers, SDSU needs to show Virginia Tech it cares. Because we all began April 16 as students going to class.