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Students respond to tragedy at Virginia Tech

Sophomore Michael Campbell signs a prayer letter. By Stephen Salpukas.Simple signatures in maroon. Notes of concern in green. Promises of prayer in orange. Messages of goodbye in yellow. The colors of William and Mary and the colors of Virginia Tech are mixed together inextricably across the banner, symbolic of just how close students at the College feel to the Tech community.

As the country tries to come to terms with the tragedy that claimed 33 lives in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, students at William and Mary have come together to show their support for the Tech community by signing a banner to be sent to the school. The banner was started by senior Mike Morrissey and sophomores Katie McCown and Christina Hoffman. The three were in the library Monday when they saw television news coverage of the shootings.

“We knew we had to do something,” said Hoffman.

The students, members of William and Mary’s student group” Colorblind,” decided to make a banner for community members to sign in a show of support for the Tech community.

The banner quickly filled with signatures during a community gathering hosted by the College Monday night to show solidarity with Virginia Tech. Some people wrote general notes of condolence and support while others wrote personal messages to friends or relatives at Tech.

The banner, which features William and Mary and Virginia Tech symbols with the message “Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You,” became available Tuesday in the University Center for students to sign. By the end of Tuesday, the original banner plus two additional pieces were nearly filled.

The Colorblind students said that students, faculty members, community members and others have signed the banner. Morrissey said he thinks it gives people a chance to do something in a situation where they are otherwise powerless.

“It was hard for us to sit still when we were so upset,” he said. “We figured others would feel like us,” he said.

“Our main goal is to give everyone an outlet,” said McCown.

The group hopes to also create a banner with photos of the vigil from Monday night and have that available for signatures. A banner will be available at the University Center for signatures until the end of the week, when the banners will be collected, laminated and sent to Virginia Tech.