Students held a vigil honoring the life of a USC student and Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity member Thursday evening at Strom Fields. The student died by suicide in Greek Village this past Tuesday, creating a shockwave in the community.
Hundreds of students attended the event to pay their respects and offer support to one another, creating a mass of Greek letters at the field. Handheld candles were lit and passed around at the ceremony, starting with a procession of SAE members.
The procession was headed by a bagpiper playing a rendition of “We Hail Thee Carolina,” followed by SAE fraternity brothers dressed in navy sport coats. Following the procession, speakers took to the microphone to offer condolences and reminded students to seek help.
“Being vulnerable and open with your emotions is not weakness, it is human,” said Student Body President Luke Rankin.
Rankin, a fellow SAE member, joined his brothers in the procession and sat with them during the vigil.
University President Robert Caslen also stressed the need for students to seek help if they should need it.
“If we see someone who is struggling, then we should reach out to them. Let’s help erase the stigma of reaching out,” Caslen said.
Rev. Marcin Zahuta of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church led a prayer, followed by a reading of 2nd Corinthians and a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The fraternity brothers embraced during the reverend’s reading.
As the ceremony reached its conclusion, the SAE members blew out their candles and retraced their steps from the procession.