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Memorial to pay tribute to students

A Student Government member wants to make sure every USF student’s death is remembered.

SG Director of University and Community Affairs Andrew Cohen said a memorial will be created and placed outside the Marshall Student Center a(MSC) to honor each student who dies while attending USF.

“We want to make sure every student has something,” Cohen said. “We’re going to provide the baseline services.”

The memorial will include nine concrete benches surrounded by green shrubbery and will be located outside the MSC in front of the fountain statues of bulls.

Cohen said funding for the memorial, which will cost $1,522.69 initially, came from the SG senate by his request. The funding was put into the SG special projects budget.

The average number of students that die each year is 15, Cohen said. SG will use that figure to predict the annual costs of the memorial. A small service will be held in the MSC after a student dies. The estimated cost for each memorial service is $50.

“A procession will be led outside with a golden rose which will be placed on one of the benches out there,” he said. “When we lay the rose we will place a brick into the ground for that student, which will have their name, date of birth and date of death.”

Items such as flowers, cards and gifts will be removed from the memorial site and sent to the student’s family a week after his or her death.

Depending on the student’s religious beliefs, someone will be available to conduct a religious service – or, it can be nonreligious, depending on the family’s requests.

Cohen said he thought of the memorial as a way to “give students a centralized location to identify and memorialize” students who die.

SG Adviser Gary Manka said a majority of opinions about the project were positive, which is why he felt comfortable endorsing it.

“When a student passes away, … we want to honor their memory,” Manka said. “SG has pushed to honor every student equally.”

The project is a University wide initiative with combined efforts from SG, the president’s office and the space impact team, a group of administrators in charge of overseeing and regulating any physical changes made to the University, Cohen said.

“The student body is supposed to be united, and SG is supposed to help do that,” said Travis Miller, a senior majoring in history. “The SG spends a lot of money in other ways that aren’t so meaningful.”

Miller said he likes the idea of the memorial and said it helps honor all students regardless of popularity.

“It helps everyone get recognized, not just the big name,” Miller said. “So no one is forgotten, even the little guy.”

Cohen said the memorial should be ready by January. SG plans to have a ceremony to introduce the memorial and pay tribute to all the USF students who have died.

Cohen said one brick will be placed for students who have died in the past year, and a brick will be placed for each student who dies from then on.

“I think it’s very important that we remember each student equally and that something is put on for each student,” Cohen said.