A Day of Remembrance: University events on April 16, 2008

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A Day of Remembrance: University events on April 16, 2008

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Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:21:02 -0500
From: Provost@vt.edu
To: Multiple recipients <LISTSERV@LISTSERV.VT.EDU>
Subject: A Day of Remembrance: University events on April 16, 2008

Thursday, February 20, 2008

Dear students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech

Three weeks ago, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger established a 21-person steering committee to guide the planning of on-campus activities to be held on April 16, 2008, marking the tragedy that occurred on campus one year earlier.

The planning committee included students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members, plus students and family members directly affected by the events. Provost Mark McNamee chaired the committee and Jay Poole, director of the Office of Recovery and Support (ORS), served as vice-chair. Megan Armbruster from ORS provided administrative and operational support.

The committee met three times and openly discussed a range of ideas for the official university observances of the April 16, 2007 tragedy. The committee welcomed input from those who wished to contribute, and benefited greatly from the advice and support of the affected families and students.

Several major decisions emerged by consensus from the committee&#39;s deliberations: April 16, 2008 will focus on the lives of the 32 innocent students and faculty members who were killed on April 16, 2007; events will be simple and respectful; opportunities will be provided for anyone who wishes to honor the memories of the victims.

In the spirit of these guidelines, the following events will represent the official university commemoration of "A Day of Remembrance" on April 16, 2008.

==> 10:30 a.m. to noon: University Commemoration Event, Drillfield (rain or shine): The names of each innocent victim and a few words about the special qualities of each person will be read aloud. President Steger will welcome those assembled. (The selection of readers and the format of the readings is still a work in progress.)

==> Sundown (approximately 7:45 p.m.): Candlelight Vigil, Drillfield (rain or shine): The students of Virginia Tech will sponsor and organize a candlelight vigil beginning at sundown. The initial lighting of candles will begin by using a ceremonial candle at the university memorial site that will burn during the entire day.

In addition, between noon and 5 p.m., the university will provide venues across campus where individuals or groups who may wish express or witness remembrances in the form of poetry or other readings; writing; musical or artistic performances; art creation; flower planting; or other activities including service activities. Our goal is to balance opportunities for individual, informal expression with some structured activities. Venues and formats will be announced as plans evolve.

As it becomes available, all information will be posted to the "April 16, 2008: A Day of Remembrance" website (www.remembrance.vt.edu). This website will be linked to the university homepage and will become live during the week of February 25.

Additional Activities

The students of Virginia Tech are also sponsoring a university and community picnic on Sunday April 20, 2008 from 1 to 4 p.m. This picnic will recognize and support everyone who contributed in so many important ways to the April 16, 2007 emergency response, and the immediate and ongoing recovery and support efforts. Introductions will occur at approximately 1:30 p.m.

On April 16, 2008, several private events will be organized in collaboration with the families of the deceased and the injured students. The families and injured students may choose to participate in any of the university events, but they will not be formally identified as participants.

No classes will be held on April 16, 2008, but the university will be open. Faculty and staff may participate in any of the university activities if they wish to. We understand that many faculty, staff, and students do not know how they will feel or react on April 16, 2008. We urge all employees and supervisors to be flexible and to place highest priority on the health and welfare of each individual. We will view April 16, 2008 as a very special workday that will not require staff to take sick leave, personal leave, or vacation time. Some buildings will be closed and those employees will not be expected to report to work. Counseling support will be available throughout campus.

Megan Armbruster from the Office of Recovery and Support will serve as the operational director for the April 16, 2008 events. She has begun her work with many university offices on logistics and support issues, and is assembling a task force for the events. All questions and suggestions should be sent to Armbruster at remembrance@vt.edu.

Mark McNamee
University Provost

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Mark McNamee

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2008-02-21

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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Mark McNamee, "A Day of Remembrance: University events on April 16, 2008," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1747, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1747 (accessed September 16, 2014).