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School Shootings Vigil Held On Turlington Plaza

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In the hours leading up to today’s scheduled vigil for the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, news broke that another shooting had occurred on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

As a result, the moment of silence and candles lit this morning at the vigil on the University of Florida’s campus were in memory of the deaths and injuries from both the UCC and NAU shootings.

Students light candles for the victims of shootings at Umpqua Community College and Northern Arizona University Friday morning. The vigila was originally meant to remember victims of the UCC shooting, but plans were changed after the incident at NAU early Friday morning.
Students light candles for the victims of shootings at Umpqua Community College and Northern Arizona University on Friday morning. The vigil was originally meant to remember victims of the UCC shooting, but plans were changed after the incident at NAU early Friday morning. Silvia Rueda / WUFT News

Courtnie Moodie, community and service cabinet director for UF’s Student Government, said events like this serve to show that students are a community.

“The Gator Nation is not only an educational institution, but we are a family — a community of learners,” she said.

The University of Florida’s Student Government planned the vigil.

Counselors from UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center were present this morning, offering services for anyone wanting to talk about personal hardships or emotional stress.

Standing in solidarity with these educational institutions is necessary, Moodie said.

“No matter how near or far this incident happened, it could have easily been us,”  Moodie said.

UF President W. Kent Fuchs was in attendance as well, holding a candle to honor the victims.

“It’s a high priority for me to be here to celebrate our own students, and also to remember those that were killed in Oregon and also these last 24 hours in Northern Arizona,” Fuchs said.

UF President Kent Fuchs holds a candle in memory of the victims of shootings on the campuses of UCC and NAU. He said it was a priority to be at the event with students.
UF President Kent Fuchs holds a candle in memory of the victims of shootings on the campuses of UCC and NAU. He said it was a priority to be at the event with students.  Silvia Rueda/ WUFT News

Fuchs also said he is impressed with the amount of support that is available at UF.

“It’s important to just be reminded that there is support,” he said. 

Moodie highlighted some of the services that are available to students, including the blue call posts students can use to contact emergency services when needed.

Jason Feliciano, a 21-year-old UF student, was passing through Turlington Plaza when he saw the vigil and decided to walk up and ask to light a candle.

“I hope that it helps them realize that there’s other college campuses around the nation supporting them and standing in solidarity with them,” Feliciano said.

About Silvia Rueda

Silvia is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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