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Filed under Opinion

Once a Blugold, always a Blugold

To some people, being a Blugold means continually being a model student. If they go to class, pay attention and get good grades, they are doing their job. Others think it means being a supportive teammate. These people train rigorously, work their tails off and support their fellow Blugolds in whatever sport or organization they belong to.

But for me, being a Blugold means that and more. My definition incorporates the importance of caring for all affiliates of the university as well. With that said, I think the UW-Eau Claire students’ ability or way of showing they care about others is something that sets them apart from not only other universities, but other groups of people.

We lost one fellow student this past month. That’s one too many and Eau Claire understands that. While death is always unfortunate in any circumstance, there is something positive that can be taken away from it here. For each Blugold we lose, I see at least one thing that commemorates their life
while on campus.

For example, after people heard about the fellow student who died last month, there were ribbons all over the walking bridge connecting Water Street and campus in remembrance of him. Along with that, I saw several Facebook and Twitter comments reminiscing about favorite experiences with the student.

Another way to honor those who have died is forming a message out of rocks at the bottom of the walking bridge. Last year after a student died in the Chippewa River at the beginning of the fall semester, people wrote out his name in the rocks and left it there for everyone to see.

It was a daily reminder to fellow students that the university is short one person. I’ve also seen people put things like flowers or something the person was known for on the walking bridge as well.

Along with that, I appreciate how the university’s dean of students always alerts us when someone dies. I think this in itself connects everyone on campus. We are all aware of it and we can all grieve together. It’s important to approach any situation like this as a team. Because of this, I think the university understands the idea of community very well.

Last week’s Day of Remembrance ultimately affirmed my thoughts. The interim chancellor and the student body president both spoke about all of the Blugolds the university has lost this past year. Along with that, it was special to hear The Singing Statesmen come and perform for all attendees at the event at Davies Center.

This community of staff, faculty and students at Eau Claire should be proud of their continued effort to keep those who have died alive through the university.

It’s important to know that every life matters, every life means something and every life is a loss. I can confidently say I’m proud to be a part of this community, this university and this group of caring people here. I’m proud to say “Once a Blugold, always a Blugold.”

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