There is a plaque on the red-brick wall outside of the outdoor pool, a bench situated near the waterfallÂ behind the Esplanade and a name sprawled across the announcerâ€™s booth at the soccer field. The plaqueÂ isnâ€™t there to commemorate a sports victory, the bench isnâ€™t the Urban Studsâ€™ newest addition to campusÂ and the name on the announcerâ€™s booth isnâ€™t that of a university benefactor; theyâ€™re memorials toÂ students of Trinity.
To most, these small commemorative objects are invisible as they pass by them on their way to classÂ each morning, giving no thought to their meaning. But, for a select few, these memorials are a constantÂ reminder of the roommate who didnâ€™t come home or the empty spot at the end of the table in Mabee.
Next Friday, Nov. 23, marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Alex Reinis, a junior who passedÂ away while studying abroad in London last fall. His passing, brought on by a short and sudden bout ofÂ the same kind of bacteria that causes meningitis, shocked the Trinity community and left in its wake aÂ group of students who are still trying to come to terms with the loss.
Today, an olive tree flourishes next to a bench on the lawn out in front of Miller Hall, Alexâ€™s first-yearÂ residence hall. It is the twin to another olive tree that grows in London and was selected because AlexÂ was thought of as a peacemaker.
On Saturday, Alexâ€™s friends and family will gather on the lawn to remember him by having a picnic.Â The event is open to the public and anyone interested in learning more about Alex is welcome to attend.
But as we reflect on this recent tragedy, we should also make an effort to remember others. In anÂ email on Wednesday, David Tuttle, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, recountedÂ some of the student deaths Trinity has experienced over the years.
Among them were Alex Row, an athlete who passed away while swimming in December of 1998,Â Tiffany Hunnicutt, an alumna killed in a car accident in 1997, only a year after graduating from Trinity,Â Tim Isom, a soccer player who passed away due to an aneurism in 2000 and Emma Hutchinson, a
member of the sorority Phi Delta Kappa, who passed away after a lifelong battle with polycystic kidneyÂ disease in 2008.
In his email, the dean said, â€œI could name a half dozen others who died when they were students hereÂ that arenâ€™t memorialized on campus. And that is too bad â€” too bad to lose any students and too bad theyÂ are not all memorialized in one way or another.â€
One of the many blessings Trinity offers is a close-knit community. When someone goes missing weÂ notice and, even if you donâ€™t know the individual personally, you know someone who did.
As we head into the hectic period that is finals combined with the holiday season, pause and take aÂ moment to remember those that we have lost and to remember what life is all about. While that projectÂ may feel important now, remember you canâ€™t take it with you when you go and that the things thatÂ matter most arenâ€™t things at all: theyâ€™re people.