At the end of a tough week for the Northwestern community, we asked our columnists for words of support and advice.
Arabella Watters, Medill sophomore:
There are moments in life that put things into serious perspective. This past Thursday evening was one of them. I didn’t know Harsha Maddula, but I felt the shatteringly colossal loss of his life just as the rest of the Northwestern community did. The quiet sadness permeated our campus and hung in the air as the sun rose on Friday, and yet there was a small inkling of hope amongst the pain. There was hope because the amount of empathy and caring that the student body displayed in the aftermath of Harsha’s death was unparalleled. Never before have I been prouder to be part of Northwestern. Despite the fact that Harsha didn’t know every single one of the students mourning his death, he was connected to every single person because he was part of Northwestern. I don’t think I really knew what that meant before this week — what it means to be unified as a school and to feel each student’s hurt as if it were your own. When I marched through the Arch a little over a year ago, I didn’t have the perspective to see that chanting, “I am Northwestern, We are Northwestern, We are NU,” truly makes us part of something bigger.
Meredith Goodman, Weinberg sophomore:
I did not know Harsha Maddula personally, but I was touched by a sermon that the new Campus Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg gave at Shabbat services honoring Harsha. This week’s Torah portion was about Moses learning he would die before he saw the promised land of Israel. Rabbi explained that Moses asked why he would die before he reached Israel and received only a simple response: “Because.” No real answers were given as to Moses’ death.
We still do not know why Harsha died tragically the way he did, and we may not learn the answers to all of our questions. But the rabbi emphasized that even though we still have confusion in the midst of this tragedy, it is our duty to come together as a community and grieve and honor Harsha. And I believe that as a university community it is our duty to be as kind, intelligent, and honorable a person as Harsha was.
Jan Jaro, McCormick sophomore:
Like many other Northwestern students, I did not personally know Harsha Maddula. Nevertheless, I feel the same grief that my fellow Wildcats feel, not just for the loss of a young, promising life but also for the loss of a wonderful human being. Harsha was surely as kind and caring a person as he was smart and talented, and it saddens me to know that I will not have the opportunity to get to know him.
I can only imagine the devastation of his close friends and family and the unanswered questions they must have in their time of grief. Please, know that you are not alone. The large turnout for Friday night’s vigil is a testament to the openness of Northwestern students, faculty and staff. Don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or anyone else at school. We are more than willing to help each other in this unfathomable time of difficulty.
It is, after all, what Harsha would have wanted. We are one Northwestern, and I hope that our sense of community extends to all those affected by this tragedy. Please look out for each other and let Harsha’s spirit live on in your kind actions and determination to make this campus, and the world, a better place to live in.