On Tuesday, April 17, a nation grieved as it watched the horrific news unfold from the disaster at Virginia Tech University. Calin Calabrese ’10 and the Fairfield EMS Rescue Team decided to do something to show Virginia Tech how much they cared.
“I called an emergency meeting on Tuesday and told everyone to think of what can we do as a university to make a difference in showing how we feel about the tragedy,” said Calabrese, the club’s president.
Another member of the group, Dan Shapiro ’10, developed the actual concept of signing a poster in order to pay respects.
“We felt that we wanted to do something like a card because you often send cards to show other people how you feel,” he said. “We thought about getting a giant card, but ended up with the poster because we thought we could get the most possible signatures on it.”
The poster was displayed on the second floor of the Barone Campus Center on Wednesday and was sent to Virginia Tech on Friday. Students and faculty were invited to write a personal message and sign their names on the poster, which portrayed a hand-drawn VT symbol and a Fairfield stag.
The group also made maroon and orange ribbons and handed them out in return for any monetary donation.
“We probably made at least $200 off of pure campus donation,” said Calabrese.
University President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx said the poster “sounds like an excellent way of expressing sympathy and solidarity with our colleagues at Virginia Tech.”
“I certainly commend our EMS team for organizing it,” said von Arx.
“We helped make and sell the ribbons,” said Calabrese. “Since they were giving the ribbons away for donations, we wanted to help to raise as much money as we could.”
“We want to send the [Virginia Tech] university a Dogwoods tree, which is their state tree, and set up some kind of percent memorial from Fairfield University,” he said. “If that doesn’t work out, we’ll donate it to the general fund for Virginia Tech.”
Many members of the EMS Rescue Team on campus felt compelled to do something for the students of Virginia Tech University, especially to commemorate the Virginia Tech Rescue Team.
Calabrese discussed how the Virginia team provided transportation for wounded students and was an integral part in the treatment of anyone who was injured.
“[The Virginia Tech Rescue Team] is what we are here and we wanted to commemorate their efforts in addition to sharing our condolences over what occurred,” said Calabrese.
FUSA President Hutch Williams ’08 also helped with making the poster process a reality.
“It wasn’t so much as FUSA and the ERT club working as two separate clubs. I helped out because I cared about the cause,” said Williams. “As FUSA president, I have certain connections with the administration and was able to make them aware of what was taking place.”
The Fairfield ERT club, along with Williams, also helped plan the vigil that took place Monday night outside Egan chapel. The vigil consisted of a 15-minute service, followed by a candle-lit procession to the Quad, where candles were formed of the letters ‘VT.’
Students around campus said they liked what the club was doing and felt it was an appropriate way to support Virginia Tech students.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Marie Alice ’08. “Fairfield students did a great job contributing by designing and signing the poster.”
Sean Cribbin ’09 commented on how the students at Fairfield sympathize with students at Virginia Tech.
“We go to college; we’re in the same shoes as they are,” said Cribbin. “It’s a good way to show we care.”