Students show support for Virginia Tech with photo


Students show support for Virginia Tech with photo


Staff Writer
Posted: 4/23/07

Colleges all across America have come together to show support to the Virginia Tech students after the shootings that occurred there on April 16.

Pitt organized a student support group photo outside the Petersen Events Center on Friday April 20 at 4 p.m.

"The university came behind SGB, traditions committee, greek life and Student Alumni Association and helped spread the word for this event," Nora Duncan of the Athletics Department said.

An estimated 300 students dressed in Hokie orange and maroon and gathered in the Petersen lobby before getting the group photo taken. At exactly 4:02 p.m., the crowd of supporters, which included Petersen Events Center staff and members of the Athletics Department, collectively made their way outside to the panther statue by the event center.

"I am here just to support the Hokies. The whole thing affected my life," junior John Hollenberger said.

"We are college students and that could have happened anywhere. I think its good that everyone pulls together to support those schools states away."

Although the reason for the gathering was a tragic one, there were smiles and playful chatter all across the crowd as they took their places for the photo. Students climbed up on the University panther, crouched together at its side and sat on the pavement in front while the rest stood close by.

The cameraman gingerly climbed to the top of his ladder and coached the students on how to pose. More and more students in orange and maroon shirts flowed in to join the picture.

"Are we supposed to smile?" a girl from the crowd called out. The crowd was then instructed to smile for the photo and say "Hokies" instead of the classic "cheese."

The coordinator counted down from three, the crowd yelled "Hokies" in unison, and he took the photo. In fact, this process was repeated five or six times.

Those who gathered for the group photo decided to come out and show support for various reasons.

"I am used to this sort of tragedy," Josh Wander, a graduate student in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, said. "I am from Israel, so things like this happen all the time. I was especially touched by the Romanian professor - Liviu Librescu - and Holocaust survivor who risked his life to save his students."

Some supporters made their way to Pitt's campus from other schools and decided to join in. There was no shortage of students willing to wear the orange and maroon for the Virginia Tech Hokies.

"My school is 45 minutes from Blacksburg. Liberty is showing support even though we are athletic rivals with the Hokies," Jennifer Trujillo, a Liberty University grad, said. "We really are just one family, supporting and praying. It hit home especially being so close."

A campus-wide vigil will be held on Monday, April 23 at 8:30 p.m. on the Cathedral lawn.

Students and faculty are encouraged to attend this event to show support, share condolences and say prayers for the families and community affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy.


Original Source:<a href=>The Pitt News - April 23, 2007</a>






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KAY OYEGUN, “Students show support for Virginia Tech with photo,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 18, 2024,