Photo by Sayer Devlin
On Monday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m., seven NYU organizations hosted a vigil in remembrance of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. The vigil was held in the Kimmel Center for University Life and featured several student and staff speakers. Over a hundred NYU community members attended the vigil.
GLS senior and Las Vegas resident RJ Khalaf coordinated the event. A live-stream was offered for those who could not attend, and there were a number of photographers and local media organizations documenting the event. All the students who spoke were Las Vegas residents, and the remainder of speakers were religious chaplains representing different faith groups on campus.
“We wanted this vigil to be a place for mourning, for feeling whatever emotions people are feeling and for people to come together,” Khalaf said.
A representative from NYU’s Wellness Center Services attended the event and asked to remain anonymous. The representative said that it is important for students to know that the Wellness Center offers a 24-hour hotline and walk-in counseling services for students in need of psychological or emotional support.
The representative stressed the importance of leaning on others when managing their grief outside of counseling.
“Community is a big part of coping,” the representative said. “Community can be in all different forms, but whatever this group is for you, it can be really important in these kinds of circumstances.”
School Chaplain and Executive Director of the Bronfman Center for Student Life Rabbi Yehuda Sarna spoke at the vigil. In his message, Sarna encouraged students to make their thoughts on these issues known in the political sphere.
“I think as the number and scale of mass shootings intensifies, it’s important for our community to respond with our eyes open and our hearts open,” Sarna said. “I hope students feel supported emotionally, but also that the issue of guns and gun control is an issue that they dedicate themselves to changing.”
While Khalaf said he was shaken up by Sunday’s event, he said he is remaining optimistic about communities like NYU and what events like the vigil can achieve.
“I hope that we’re open-minded that there’s a lot of work to do in this world,” Khalaf said. “There’s a lot of pain, but also the means for hope, growth and wellness for one another.”
Email Alex Domb at [email protected]