Local students extend support

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Eastern New Mexico University students and faculty are showing sympathy and support to those affected by last week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech University by signing a giant card to the university.

While watching the news, Jeff Blake felt compelled to do something that would show support for the victims and their families following the nation’s deadliest massacre, he said.

On April 16 a student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 students and wounded dozens of others before killing himself.

Blake, who is interim director of student activities and organizations, came up with the idea of making a card that could be signed by the ENMU community. He then coordinated with graphic artist Aaron Prince, who designed and produced the card, Blake said.

The card includes printed words of condolence along with the ENMU logo on an earthtone background. The front of the posterboard-size card was filled with written messages Monday afternoon, and students had begun writing on the back.

“I think the students need some way to show and share their grief,” Blake said. “I think we do things like this for our students at Eastern as much as we do for the Virginia Tech students.”

“I look at it as a collective but personal condolence to another university,” Prince said of his involvement with the effort.

As students streamed in and out of the Campus Union Building, many stopped to sign the card and share their thoughts about the incident.

“I just thought it was really cool that our school could reach out and share our sympathies and condolences,” said ENMU senior Malia Rummell.

When asked if she felt threatened on campus, Rummell replied she has had some trepidation, but only in a larger crowd setting versus regular day-to-day campus life.

“It definitely makes you think twice about the things you do,” Rummell said.

Other students shared many of the same thoughts as Rummell regarding their feelings of the massacre and the issue of safety on campus.

“It’s one of those situations you think will never happen at your school, but it does raise the question (of being a possibility),” said freshman Rojun Alexander.

Sophomore Kathleen England summed it up by expressing that many students have been greatly affected by the tragedy and people may not have realized that, she said.

“It’s been really overwhelming,” England said. “It’s a matter of continuing on and honoring those lost and affected.”