On Tuesday night, a circle of people gathered on the west side of the Bell Tower, huddling to keep warm and keep their candles lit, but also to console one another.
“We wanted to make sure that anyone who passed on Temple’s campus would be remembered,” said Mary Ciammetti, on the second anniversary of her son Christian’s death. Christian was a junior studying landscape architecture.
Members of the Temple community gathered for a candlelit vigil and memorial for students, professors, faculty and administrators who passed away in 2016.
The event was organized by Ciammetti, who started Don’t Stall, Just Call and the CTC Wellness Foundation to raise awareness of binge drinking and the causes of it.
The memorial began with a poetry reading by MaryJane Moyer, a 2016 media studies and production alumna and a friend of Ciammetti’s son.
“First came shock then denial, but after that my life went in a downward spiral,” Moyer read from her phone. “Now if you felt like this, please raise your hand, realize you are not alone and everyone has held their own.”
Ciammetti read “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep,” a 1932 poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
Some of the names honored at the memorial include former presidents Peter Liacouras and David Adamany, Patricia Williams and junior social work major Erin Wilson, who passed away in November. But Ciammetti said the list only included Temple community members whose deaths they were made aware of.
Nick Hall, a junior music education and flute performance major played “Hallelujah” on the flute accompanied by a singer. He then rang a handbell 12 times to symbolize the 12 months out of the year that community members passed.
Two of Wilson’s friends spoke about her “beautiful soul” and passion.
Ciammetti said memorial events on campus are important for students to have a venue to come together, mourn and celebrate.
“It seems to me when people die, especially students, it’s all so hushed up,” Ciammetti said. “We need to recognize lives that were lost within the Temple University community and I feel that it is so important.”
Christine Johnson Hall, a college friend of Ciammetti’s and mother of Nick Hall, said that since Tuesday was the second anniversary of Christian’s death, it would be meaningful for people to have a place to come together.
“I think that often people feel alone in their grief, they feel isolated, they are missing their family member, friend or roommate and they just keep to themselves,” said Johnson Hall, who is on the board of the CTC Wellness Foundation. “When you come together and see everyone is struggling and looking to express something about the person they lost, that it is really helpful not to feel alone.”
Emily Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @emilyivyscott.