In Memoriam event to honor OSU community members who have died

David Li, News Contributor

Poetry, live music and activities for reflection and healing will honor those students, staff and faculty who have died in the past year at the In Memoriam event on April 27.

This year is the third iteration of the event and will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the main lounge of the Memorial Union.

According to Robynn Pease, associate ombuds, In Memoriam was created as a way to express grief and honor individuals who have died through an organized event. 

“We wanted to make sure that we had an event that really embraced or acknowledged the passing of every member of our community,” Pease said.

The event will be informal and is intended to provide an experience that is universal and acceptable to people from different backgrounds, Pease said. There will be no required registration, assigned seating or any seating requirement during the event.

“Grief is sad. It’s sorrowful, and part of living is understanding, I think, how to go through those experiences,” Pease said. “So that’s why it’s important…to acknowledge the grief but also to find hope and joy in our gratitude for those lives that entered into our lives.”

According to Pease, the event will have speakers that represent different segments of the university. The faculty senate president will speak on behalf of the faculty and staff, a member of the student government will speak on behalf of the students and the director of the alumni association will speak on behalf of the alumni.

Musicians and poets from the student body will perform at the event. Andrew Mobbs, a second-year poet in the masters of fine arts and creative writing program who will be reciting a poem for In Memoriam, said the hope of the event is for everyone to gain comfort and upliftment.

Mobbs is the only poet for the event’s current iteration and wrote his poem with the goal of inspiring comfort and closure.

“I know that it has the potential to reach and affect people in ways that I can’t even imagine; even if not immediately, maybe years down the line,” Mobbs said. “I appreciate its power in that regard.”

Connor Boring-Mackie, performing arts liaison for the student fee committee, is a fourth-year transfer student studying music education who is organizing a musical performance for the event. 

Boring-Mackie worked with the vocal ensemble to find musical numbers that were inclusive and uplifting as possible.”

“Even in death, there is life as the memories of those we love live on not just in our hearts, but the community as well,” Boring-Mackie said.

According to Pease, the event and its poetry and music have been well-received in the past, and the event itself can be a part of the healing process as participants acknowledge those who have died as a community.

“If you have a child who has left your life early, to know that other people cared about them and honored them, I think that’s so incredibly important…that we cared about them too,” Pease said.

Individuals who are interested in contributing to future iterations of In Memoriam can contact Pease or the planning committee.

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