— By Matthew Holowienka, 2015
Clad in a collared shirt and slacks, Saint Peter’s University junior Sabin Pradhan walked through the Panepinto Plaza. In one corner, students were creating unique posters representing their respective student organizations. In the other, a group of young men and women were drawing on the ground with sidewalk chalk. Altogether, more than 50 people had congregated among the fountain and picnic tables.
Clutching a folded piece of paper, a prepared speech, Pradhan made his way among them. And after a few moments, he ducked down to his knees. The chalk picture was finished—yellow and pink letters spelling out “SPU for Nepal.” And rolling up his sleeves, Pradhan began placing tiny white candles along the newly made lines.
A candlelight vigil commemorating the recent earthquake in Nepal drew the Saint Peter’s
community to the Mac Mahon Student Center on May 3. International student Sabin Pradhan was one of the event’s primary organizers.
“The reason for the vigil was to address this tragic event, to let people know the developments that have been going on,” he explained. “You know, the lives that have been ruined by this. You know, Nepal was already a third-world country, and this earthquake just takes it light years behind its economic progress.”
As Pradhan described, the death toll in his native country had already peaked at over 6,000, with thousands more still missing. And despite attending college over 7,000 miles from home, Pradhan still felt a duty to the friends and family he had left behind.
“[My sister] was talking, like lives, you know, are being lost like they’re nothing,” Pradhan said. “And I kind of felt, you know, being away like I had some responsibility toward her.”
In order to foster a sense of solidarity among the student body at Saint Peter’s, Pradhan invited student leaders to create posters of support representing the clubs of which they were a member. The Biology Club, Chemistry Club, and Orientation Team were only a handful of organizations represented.
“I wanted to make this event not only my event, but an event of the community,” Pradhan said.
However, as students finally gathered to light candles in the shape of “SPU for Nepal,” the wind picked up and extinguished the flames. But this did not deter Pradhan.
“What I’ve been saying to everyone tonight is that, you know, the candles didn’t light. That was some hardship that we faced. But we got through it together in solidarity, and that’s what’s important.”
An interfaith prayer service for Nepal took place in the Saint Peter Hall chapel the following afternoon.