Remembering Emily Reedy

Joe Wolf, News Contributor

On Sunday, Jan. 15, Oregon State University lost a student.

Emily Reedy, a freshman this year, passed away in a car accident. Emily was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority and a graphic design major. A celebration of life was held by her family on Saturday, Jan. 21 in the Foothills Church in Stayton, Oregon.

OSU’s Sigma Kappa Upsilon chapter released a statement to mark the loss of their sister.

“Sigma Kappa sends its deepest condolences to Emily’s family. We join the sisters of Upsilon Chapter and the Oregon State University community in mourning the loss of a dear sister and friend. According to some of her closest friends, ‘Emily was like a ray of sunshine, constantly brightening everyone’s days. Her smile was contagious and she was fiercely loyal. She always knew how to bring a little sparkle into everyone’s lives.’”

At the national level, Sigma Kappa released a statement from their National President Sara Chacon. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Emily’s family and all those that knew her during this difficult time. Losing a sister is hard regardless of the circumstances, but having it be so unexpected with someone so young makes her loss unimaginable. Sigma Kappa is extremely saddened by the news of Emily’s passing.”

Lily Grant, Emily’s sorority big sister and a kinesiology undergrad, also released a statement.

“Emily’s love of life showed in everything she did. She was kind, generous, silly, brave and loved with the biggest heart. Her presence touched so many lives and brought a ray of sunshine to everyone who knew her. I am so lucky to have known her and to have shared the bond of sisterhood with her. The legacy she leaves behind is one of boundless love and friendship, and of course, lots of sparkles.”

Her sorority sisters and other people close to Emily took to social media to express their sorrow at her passing. The large outpouring of posts about Emily once the news broke was indicative of a person whose life touched many others. 

None were affected more by the tragedy than Emily’s close friends and family. Many of them wished to celebrate and remember her life, rather than dwell on her death. Emily’s friend Jordan Buster, a freshman music major, recollected how quickly the two became friends.

“I met her during Welcome Week. As former cheerleaders and theater lovers, we had an instant bond. She had such a shining personality, laughing was a guarantee when she was around! Someone once said ‘You always remember how people make you feel’ and I think that that is how Emily should be remembered, as the girl who made you feel special. She was a ray of sparkly light that touched everyone she ever talked to, even if it was only a five minute conversation.”

Another friend of Emily’s, freshman human development and family sciences major Jessica Grose, mentioned how Emily lit up her life.

“Although I only knew Emily for the last few months of her life, her presence impacted me immensely. Emily was larger than life. Everything she pursued was pursued with passion. She made everyone feel like they were worthy and special. Although I miss her more than I can express, I know she’d want people to continue radiating her light… so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Even in a time of grief, Emily’s mother Lisa Reedy put her focus on others.

“Please encourage kids having a hard time to reach out to CAPS. I used to work there so not only are they amazing people, they knew both Emily and me. Lots of students are reaching out to me on Facebook and I’m totally okay with that. I want to help them too.” 

CAPS is the Counseling and Psychological Services center on campus. Beth Zimmerman, a licensed psychologist and clinical care manager for CAPS, said that there are a broad set of responses to this kind of tragedy, including shock and confusion, or even physical symptoms. 

“Grief hits us all at different times and in different ways. Don’t be surprised if this is not resolved in the next few days. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is normal, but if it is interfering with your normal functions as a student, that’s when you need to talk to someone: a counselor, a spiritual guide, a trusted mentor, your friend group or a family member. There’s no one way to experience grief. Seeking support is common and normal.” 

Zimmerman also had advice for students to keep themselves healthy.

“Do your best to maintain your sleep schedule, good nutrition practices, movement, and the routine you’re starting to develop for the term.”

For students that need assistance in processing their grief, counseling through CAPS is open to all students in person on the fifth floor of Snell Hall or over the phone. Their hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday except for Thursday. Thursday hours are 11a.m. to 4 p.m. If you need immediate assistance, you can call their number 541-737-2131 at any time.

Lisa said that a scholarship fund will be set up in Emily’s name to help others get the education that her daughter was not able to complete.

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