Today: Jun 17, 2024

Southern gathers to discuss Sandy Hook support

Josh Falcone | general assignment reporter The area where the proposed Sandy Hook garden will be planted in memory of the victims. The garden will feature benches where students can reflect.

Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, the community at Southern have been gathering ideas to help the Sandy Hook community, remember the victims, and also educate the campus on how to prevent a massacre on the university’s campus.

Last Wednesday in the Michael J. Adanti Student Center, Southern held a Sandy Hook forum to discuss the various tribute ideas and contributions the university has planned to support Sandy Hook and Newtown. Sal Rizza from the Office of Student Life said one thing that is currently going on at Southern is that the Beta Mu Sigma fraternity was selling memorial bracelets to raise money for the Sandy Hook community. Rizza said he believes the fraternity has sold all of the bracelets that they produced.

“I believe they are in the process of making a donation based on the bracelet sales,” Rizza said.

Josh Falcone | general assignment reporter The area where the proposed Sandy Hook garden will be planted in memory of the victims. The garden will feature benches where students can reflect.
Josh Falcone | general assignment reporter
The area where the proposed Sandy Hook garden will be planted in memory of the victims. The garden will feature benches where students can reflect.

In addition, Rizza and Dr. Rosalyn Amenta have sent a letter to all of the university’s clubs and organizations to gain their support of other ideas that the university is currently seeking to honor the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Rizza said.

One of the ideas brought forth at the forum was a memorial that hopefully would be complete by the summertime, a memorial garden along with a series of benches for students to, “sit, relax, reflect,” Rizza said. In addition, the hope is for the memorial to include in some capacity, the names of the teachers lost at Sandy Hook who had a connection to Southern.

That idea is moving forward, Rizza and Amenta said. As well, there is another idea that was brought up at the forum last week, an after school gardening and science project for third and fourth grade students at Sandy Hook; where they grow plants and flowers at school. The idea being that the Sandy Hook students would come to the Southern campus and plant their flowers in the newly constructed garden.

Dr. Amenta said she would like to see the garden become a First-Year Experience Intellectual and Creative Inquiry project, and that they could have incoming freshmen overtake the care and maintenance of the garden every fall.

As well as the Southern community coming together to support and help the Sandy Hook area, there is also renewed concern over the safety of the Southern campus in regards to a hostile intruder present on campus, so Police Chief Joseph Dooley held a discussion on February 27th. The meeting was open to the Southern community and was an overview of proper ways to handle a possible gunman on campus.

Those in attendance were given a hand out explaining the best way to deal with a hostile intruder on campus as well as shown a video produced by the University of Wisconsin showing the correct way to respond to the situation. Dooley said the university is in the process of producing their own video on the subject, to help better educate faculty, staff and students.

Dooley said the police force have done active shooter drills, but also said there have not been any issues with guns being on campus, it has been merely speculation or the belief of guns being on campus but it is not an issue.

Dr. Amenta said her biggest concern is people not affiliated with Southern coming into buildings.

Dooley said the best way to respond to any potential threat is to trust your instincts, as well as reiterating the importance of educating the Southern community on the issue.

“A safe community is an engaged community,” he said.

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