SPECIAL- UVA v. Tech: 'Rivalry on hold til further notice'
The UVA community responded quickly and variously to news of the Virginia Tech massacre, in a massive show of support and solidarity for their historic rival.
At 10:30 Monday night, students gathered at Beta Bridge to paint messages of solace and to announce a candlelight vigil, scheduled for the following evening at McIntire Ampitheater. Many community members wore Virginia Tech colors on Tuesday, or pinned on one of the orange and maroon ribbons passed out around campus that day.
The UVA Student Council established a "Hoos for Hokies" memorial fund in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and has set up a website, hoosonline.virginia.edu/tech, to accept online donations, with all contributions going directly to the Virginia Tech Foundation. The Fourth Year Trustees will also collect donations for that fund at several events this week, including a corner bar night. On Thursday, April 19, students will gather on the Lawn to mount a letter-writing campaign to Virginia Tech students and families.
The Cavalier Daily dedicated its day-after front page to the "Tragedy at Virginia Tech." Articles and editorials throughout the paper expressed students' profound grief and shock at the events. One student, Caleb Euhus, wrote a poem entitled "Tech Wind," in which he uses imagery of Monday's fierce winds to express his horror and anger at the catastrophe. The Cavalier Daily posted the poem online and has continued to update its online Tech coverage, including a photo gallery of the events.
On Facebook.com, the popular social networking site, nearly 4,000 UVA students expressed support for their Hokie counterparts by joining groups like "Virginia Tech Needs Our Support" which proclaimed the schools' long-standing rivalry "on hold until further notice." Many members changed their profile pictures to an image of a flag with UVA and Virginia Tech emblems side by side. Some students used the site to contact friends and siblings at Virginia Tech, and friends from across the country posted comforting messages on UVA students' pages.
UVA President John Casteen urged UVA students to call home and to use university counseling services for help processing the disaster. He offered support to Virginia Tech in the form of counseling, medical assistance, and even communications.
On Tuesday morning, UVA spokeswoman Carol Wood headed to Blacksburg with four other members of the university relations team to help Tech colleagues overwhelmed by media inquiries. Casteen, members of the Board of Visitors, and student leaders also traveled to Blacksburg Tuesday to pay their respects at the 2pm convocation. Chapel bells rang for five minutes in Charlottesville in unison with tolling bells at Tech.