“Beginnings are sometimes hard. The path is not always clear,” read a poem at the April 16 memorial bench dedication ceremony.
As Virginia Tech marked the third anniversary of the April 16, 2007, shootings that claimed 32 victims’ lives, that once-foggy path has became more defined. April 16, 2010, marked the beginning of a major transition in the way the university will commemorate future anniversaries of the day.
This year’s commemorations — including the creation of new themes for the event — foreshadow much of what is now planned for anniversaries in 2011 and beyond.
For the third Day of Remembrance since the shootings, the 2009 steering committee decided to add an academic theme to the day’s calendar: For the first time, a Day of Remembrance shifted beyond solely the victims of Seung-Hui Cho.
Daniel Wubah serves as Tech’s dean for undergraduate education. He and Karen DePauw, his graduate school counterpart, were asked last year to co-chair an academic workgroup to organize the day’s academic-centered activities.
“Students are being connected to what happened that day, but also to look forward,” Wubah said.
“We want students to get a chance to reflect on what that day means; even though (many current students) were not here, it’s part of our history,” he said. “As a member of this community, how would you move beyond what happened that day, and build on it?”
One such activity was “Hokie Stone: An Event of Student Shared Knowledge,” a student showcase of research that took place throughout the afternoon in Squires Colonial Ballroom. Other features included designated reflection spaces and numerous artwork exhibitions.