Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 11, 2016


MU STRONG Students gather in the Academic Center to sign their names on Manchester flags. Photo courtesy of Student Senate.

Campus Community Honors Lost Lives

Aaron Lloyd

These past few weeks have been tough on the Manchester University community due to the loss of three students. Nerad Mangai, Brook Dagnew and Kirubel Hailu all touched the lives of people on this campus, and those close to them have mourned their passing in a couple of different ways.

Manchester’s Activity Council has spent the last two weeks ordering and selling t-shirts to support the families of the students. The shirts are labeled with the phrase that has flooded the social media accounts of Manchester University students—#MUStrong. Shanon Fawbush, Director of Student Activities and Orientation, said that they have sold upwards of 600 shirts and they blew through the first shipment. A second shipment came in a few days after sales began. “We’re still getting online orders from people off campus and we also sold a large amount to the College of Pharmacy,” Fawbush said.

Fawbush also said that the people ordering shirts online are either alumni, parents of students, or people in the community that just want to show their support. The money that is made from selling the shirts will go towards the funeral expenses of the three students and the hospital bill of the student in the hospital, Israel Tamire.

The Manchester Student Senate is also doing its part to help out the cause. Last week, members set up a table in the Academic Center and had four Manchester University flags sitting on the table for passing students to sign to send to the families of both Israel and the late students.

Not only are the clubs and students on campus helping the cause of raising money, but so is the entire Manchester community—alumni, neighboring colleges and people close to the university. Allen Machielson, the dean of student experience, says that the development office in the Administration Building has received a stack of donations every day. Machielson spoke about one of the donations specifically. “We had money donated by an individual, anonymous donor to fund the trip of Professor Benson Onyeji to Nigeria and Ethiopia to meet with the families of the three deceased students,” Machielson said. “The donor, I do not know if it is a he or a she, said they wanted us to send someone to send our condolences directly.”

With these three students having had such an impact on the North Manchester campus, the university is planning to make a memorial on campus. “The very first thing that we are going to do is place an eight-sided peace pole at the Intercultural Center which will have the languages of countries of origin for the students that were lost as well as the ones that are normally on a peace pole,” Machielson stated.

“It normally takes 6-8 weeks for the poles to be made and then we will more than likely hold a ceremony on campus for when we place it at the current Intercultural Center.” With new plans to permanently move the current Intercultural Center, the university does not want to place a large memorial and then have to move it within the next three years.

In the coming weeks, Manchester will create an email address using the #MUStrong tag so that students can send in their ideas of how Manchester can honor the passing of the students. “We want to hear from the students on how they think we should honor their classmates,” Machielson said.