The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) hosted a vigil in the quad on the night of Oct. 8 for the lives lost a week ago at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. On Sunday, Oct. 1, a man named Stephen Paddock opened fire during a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada—killing 58 people and injured 489.
This vigil was held to honor the lives lost. As each student stood side by side with lit candles in their hands, a few people walked up to the podium to say a few words about the tragedy.
Boise State alumnus Ian Bott was one of the first students to walk up to the podium and say a few words.
“From the words of Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,’” Bott said. Bott and other people who came up to speak wanted everyone to know that for those going through something, don’t be afraid to talk to someone or get help.
He then went on to say this is the time to come together and show kindness for one another.
“You never know how much a smile, or appreciation can affect someone’s day. We stay busy in our lives not knowing how it can affect others,” Bott said. “You need to keep on taking care of yourself and also making sure that other people are loved and valued and people are accepted for who they are. That’s what going to help us win.”
Ariana Grgas, a K-12 physical education major who is originally from Las Vegas, attended the vigil. She expressed her thanks to the ASBSU staff for putting together the vigil last minute.
“You can never really prepare for tragedy,” Grgas said. “One thing I can say to Boise State is thank you, the professors have been extremely understanding. I know a lot of my peers have been really overwhelmed a lot of times, and the professors give them that leeway. That’s what we need. This vigil was perfect, and it gave us a sense of closure. We got to be around a bunch of people that needed that, or that were here to support, and it was great.
Keegan Keith, a theatre arts major also from Las Vegas, said she wanted to be back home with her loved ones more than anything. After the vigil, she said how happy she was Boise State came together to stand in solidarity.
“I’m proud of Boise State coming together tonight as a community, I’m proud of the love that can be put out into the world,” Keith said.
The president of ASBSU, Sienna George, put together the vigil and showed her compassion by creating a poster board and having students come up and write a sentence or two for those affected by the shooting.
“We gathered up all the materials we could and decided to put on a vigil,” George said. “We thought that was the best response, because it was a way of rallying our Boise State community and sharing in solidarity, compassion and love with one another.”
At one point in the event, George went up to the podium and told the crowd to turn towards the person next to them and give them a hug because they might need it. According to George, ASBSU decided it was important to respond to what happened in Vegas to help people mourn after this tragedy.
“(It was) recognizing our interconnectedness as people, as students at Boise State,” George said. “Since we had such a large Nevada population, we thought that it was really important to recognize those students in particular. (We wanted to) make sure that they were feeling supported and cared for.”