Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 06:43 am est

NYU community gathers to hold vigil for Newtown victims

Posted on December 18, 2012 | by Julie DeVito

Over a hundred students and staff members filled the grand staircase in the NYU Kimmel Center Monday evening to hold a vigil for the victims of the tragic shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut.

Yael Shy, director of the Mindfulness project at

generic cialis online

NYU, helped organize the event over the past few days.

“A lot of people, including myself have been walking around with a lot of grief and a lot of feelings of just incredible empathy and sadness for the community there and for the families that have lost people, and really just for society,” Shy said. “We felt this desire to come together from our different traditions and places in life to offer prayers and thoughts for the community.”

With a calm voice, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, director of the Bronfman Center at NYU, moderated the evening.

“Of course there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the political dimensions of what’s happening – gun control, mental health, school safety – but we’re here for a simple reason,” he said. “Just by establishing a presence of support here, miles away from where a tragedy occurred … [we make] a statement that we care enough even during finals to come out.”

Rabbi Sarna told the story of a man he met the night before in Newtown. The man had begun a memorial with a single flagpole near Sandy Hook Elementary School, and one by one people joined in with cards, candles, posters, stuffed animals and coffee.

“And such is the human spirit that healing happens, not all at once, but in small humble increments that we all participate in,” Sarna said.

After a moment of silence, students were invited to light 26 candles in honor of the victims as Imam Khalid Latif of NYU spoke of the power of the candle to continuously give light without losing any of it’s shine.

“Your giving has to be in the same ways that these candles give,” Latif said.

To close the ceremony, Luke Shearin, a Stern freshman and resident of Newtown, spoke to the gathering of NYU community members, thanking them for their support. He said that the tragedy created a sense of overwhelming community in his town.

“It’s always been a quiet town, your stereotypical Connecticut small town and that was always the way we liked it,” he said. “With the tragedy came an outpouring of support from across the nation. For that, thank you.”

Shearin said that the vigil was a way for people to give and for the tragedy to have a more lasting impact when so often people forget.

After the vigil, attendees were invited to write a message for the people of Newtown that a group of students would deliver to residents of Newtown later tonight.

The students driving to Newtown plan to talk to the families and show their support.

“It’s not just something that affected a small town in Connecticut,” said Steinhardt junior Danielle Wolkowicz who is going with them. “[The vigil] was an outlet for NYU students because not everyone can go there.”

The vigil was organized by the Center for Spiritual Life, the Bronfman Center, the Office of the Vice President, NYU Chaplains, Student Senators Council, CSALS, CMEP, LGBT, Islamic Center, the Catholic Center, Protestant ministries and fellowships, and the Kimmel Center.

For CAS senior Nichole Roxas, it was important to give 30 minutes of her time to reflect on the tragedy.

“It was so moving to see this whole placed filled with people who care,” Roxas said. “We all have that human connection and I’m just really touched. My heart is with them and it looks like so is everyone else’s here.”


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.