Packed shoulder to shoulder with their faces illuminated by flickering candlelight, hundreds of BYU students gathered outside the Tanner Building, lit candles, and sang hymns in remembrance of the student who passed away Dec. 4.
The event was completely organized by students without support from BYU. Candles were donated by the St. Francis Parish Assisi Catholic Church in Orem.
“We are a campus family,” said Jacob Payne, an open-major sophomore who organized the event. “We shouldn’t ever have to lose another member of our family again.”
The vigil began with a prayer, followed by a moment of silence. Students sang hymns like “Where Can I Turn For Peace” and “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” followed by a concluding moment of silence and a prayer.
Brady Eisert, a BYU student in attendance, said the vigil had a powerful spirit.
“When something like this happens, people need to get together and have a communal suffering,” Eisert said. “We need to realize that we are not alone in the pain that we are feeling.”
Payne said he realized something had to be done when he heard about the tragic event during his religion class. He said he felt like he needed to do something because of his own battles with mental illness.
Payne also said he was surprised by the turnout since he had announced the event just five hours before on Twitter.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel; there is help.” Payne said. “I am living proof that you can find your way out of the tunnel. You just have to reach out to the right resources.”
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