Editorial: Seek out community in the face of tragedy

By The Beacon | April 17, 2013 9:00pm

The UP community holds a candlelight vigil to pray for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON)


Three days ago, thousands of people gathered together in a celebration of athleticism and excellence.

Instead, they were met with tragedy as two bombs exploded, taking three lives and injuring more than 170 people.

Facebook, Twitter and other online sources have overflowed with sympathy and support as the nation - and the world - responds to this disaster.

In the days following the marathon bombing, UP professors expressed their distress and solidarity with those personally touched by the events in Boston before their classes.

As the UP community mourns with Boston, we also mourn a loss much closer to our home - the loss of Shari Butler, beloved Corrado Hall housekeeper, friend, mother and mentor.

Butler was a mother figure to students far away from their own families, even while being a mother to her own two UP students and one UP alumna. She brightened the lives of those who knew her with her loving spirit and her practical jokes.

As the UP community reels from the loss of one of their own, as well as in solidarity with those who experienced and have been affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, many of us may feel hopeless in the face of such pain and loss.

Many of us may feel there is nothing beautiful to be found in so much devastation.

But we have already seen it.

On the very night of the events at the Boston marathon, 100 students came together to pray for those touched by the bombing in a candlelight vigil organized by senior Patrick Tomassi.

On Monday night, current and former Corrado Hall residents gathered to celebrate Shari Butler and share their stories of her life.

Tragic events leave many of us hopeless, even heartbroken. But they also bring us together.

They make us realize that our UP community is more than our student peers. It is even more than our professors and administrators.

It includes the people sitting behind desks in the Campus Ministry Office and the Moreau Center.

It includes the people who keep our homes clean, serve us our food, patrol our campus to keep us safe and even the janitors who restore our academic halls to their morning-time spotlessness while most of us are at home asleep.

So as you continue to stress about the final days of this semester, as you hole up in the computer lab or your room studying for your finals, don't forget the people who make it possible for you to be here.

Don't forget the people who keep the bathrooms and floors clean in your residence halls, the people who make your coffee and hand you your pizza in The Commons.

Don't forget the people driving the Public Safety cars who make this campus a safe place for you. Don't forget to give them a smile.

Don't forget that however stressed, worried or sad you may be, everyone you encounter shares an equal part in this community you call home for nine months of the year.

Even if you did not know Shari personally, she was part of your community. Even if you do not know anyone who was at the Boston marathon bombings, this tragedy touches you.

So keep the door of your room open and say hello to the people that pass by. Smile at the people you pass on the way to your classes. Attend on-campus events on a weekend night instead of going out to connect with the people who share your home with you.

Step outside of your tight circle of friends and enjoy this beautiful community.

You might just be surprised at the people who change your life and your perspective, like Shari Butler did for so many members of this community.


Editorial Policy The editorial reflects the majority view of The Beacon Editorial Board. The editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the collective staff or the Administration of the University of Portland. Other submissions in this section are signed commentaries that reflect the opinion of the individual writer. The Student Media Committee, providing recommendation to the publisher, oversees the general operation of the newspaper. Policy set by the committee and publisher dictates that the responsibility for the newspaper's editorial and advertising content lies solely in the hands of its student employees.