Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

USF hosts memorial service for grad

Friends and families will remember an involved USF graduate by celebrating his life.

The memorial service for Aly Lakdawala, who went missing on a school-sponsored trip, will begin with prayers from individuals of different religions today at 6 p.m. in Room 3707 of the Marshall Student Center.

“Aly was very open-minded and he was very pro-diversity,” said USF graduate and Lakdawala’s roommate Hiram Ramirez, who will lead the service.

A slideshow will be shown and attendees will have the opportunity to share thoughts and memories of Lakdawala during an open mic session.

Throughout the service, participants will be able to speak about Lakdawala on camera in a video booth. The video will be given to Lakdawala’s family.

Attendees will also be given note cards to write about Lakdawala. The cards will be bound into a book and also given to his family.

“He was my best friend. He was a great person,” said USF graduate Raffaele Macri. “We are here for his family.”

Macri said he believes Lakdawala’s parents and two sisters will attend the service. The family held private services this weekend in Homestead.

Lakdawala went missing May 16 when he and three other students were caught in a
riptide in the Pacific Ocean near the town of Matapalo, Costa Rica. The three students were able to make it back to shore.

A total of 14 students, including Lakdawala, and two USF staff members left May 8 on an alternative summer break trip in Costa Rica as part of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement.

The group volunteered at an orphanage in the capital, San Jose, then assisted a local biologist on a turtle conservation project in Matapalo.

The Costa Rican Coast Guard, American Embassy, American Red Cross, local police and lifeguards searched almost four days for Lakdawala. His body was found May 21, one nautical mile from the beach where he went missing.

The Office of Student Programs, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, students who went on the trip with Lakdawala, and organizations that Lakdawala was involved in, including the badminton club and Phi Alpha Delta, assisted in planning the service.

Lakdawala graduated earlier this month with a double major in international studies and philosophy.

“It’s supposed to be an uplifting event not so much a mourning — more of a celebration,” Ramirez said.

Attendees are asked to wear light-colored clothing in honor of Lakdawala’s Muslim faith. No specific color is required.