Feb 012011
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

“Nothing is more important than family.” My mother used to tell me that all through some rough spots growing up. “They’ll always be there for you in the end.”

Coming to CSU, I think many of us have found that we have the opportunity to extend our families through experiences and bonding by walking some of the same paths with our colleagues. This year more than any other year, it seems we Rams have suffered more losses –– certainly more than I have ever encountered on a single campus in a single year.

It isn’t realistic to meet every person on campus during our time here, but the unity of being students, staff and faculty on a campus like CSU brings a unique form of community and knowing. There is, I think, a certain security and support in believing that if things should go wrong in academics –– or life –– there is a support net that will help us out. More than likely that support will be initiated by the friends we’ve made.

These thoughts resonated with me late last week as I struggled with some of my own family problems, which included the hospitalization of my dad. No sooner had I gotten the message that he was OK than I got word about one of our own: Vanessa Trujillo.

Vanessa was involved in a very serious car accident on Jan. 13. She was on her way to the Denver area and rolled her vehicle while traveling south on Interstate 25. Vanessa had to be airlifted to Denver Health and has been in the ICU unit since.

Vanessa is a senior majoring in business. She plans to get her master’s in business after getting a couple years of work experience post-graduation. How different does that sound than many of our plans? On a campus the touts itself as a bastion of learning, opportunity and diversity, Vanessa is a model for all that CSU stands for. As a first generation student, there is no doubt that each one of us has, in our past, benefited by the sacrifices of our family to send that first person to college –– Vanessa is that person for her family.

CSU’s Greek Life has stepped up to rally behind her by organizing a fundraiser planned for this Thursday from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. at Castillon’s Mexican restaurant located at 4010 S. College Ave. And I guess that is where community comes in, right? How many of us can say they are completely self-made, no one ever helped us out, not family or a neighbor?
I’m a fairly self-sufficient person and that is mostly all most people ever see of me. They never see the shoulders of the giants I am standing on (to paraphrase the words on the Newton monument at the center of our campus). Therein lies the community that comes with our tuition and shared commitment to ourselves to become educated –– a commitment to look out for one another.

This school year we’ve lost a number of students, and we are still mourning the recent loss of a faculty member just before the start of the semester. Vanessa sustained multiple injuries and is pretty bruised and banged up and will need the help and support of CSU for years to come. She has been responsive and able to make non-verbal communication with her doctors and family, the road ahead of this Ram is sure to be a long one. We attend and support our basketball team by the thousands and the talk of the “CSU community” in this very paper goes back for years. Let’s see if we can make a difference and support one of our fallen on Thursday night.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student in environmental health. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:54 pm

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