Monday, October 16, 2017

Student-led project raises thousands to build special memorial on UTSA Main Campus

Student-led project raises thousands to build special memorial on UTSA Main Campus

(Dec. 2, 2016) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) community has rallied together to raise funds for the Roadrunner Memorial Garden, a designated area on campus where students, alumni, faculty and staff will soon be able to visit and remember those who have passed away.

Championed by the Student Government Association (SGA), the initial goal was to raise $25,000. By the end of the fundraising campaign, that total exceeded $34,000.

"Gifts of every amount have been made online, from $4 to $5,000," said Andrew Hubbard, president of the UTSA Student Government Association. "This space will allow Roadrunner Nation to gather together at times when they've lost someone. It will create a sense of togetherness and a sense of belonging. Students, alumni, faculty and staff are going to find a lot of value in that."

Situated at the UTSA Oval, near the 1604 entrance of the UTSA Main Campus, the garden will be surrounded by trees and lush vegetation. It will include seating, flag poles and an engraved memorial message. Visitors will have the option to leave behind engraved pebbles or flowers.

The sacred space was the initial vision of students under the tenure of 2015-2016 SGA President Ileana Gonzalez '16. After noticing the absence of memorial space on campus, the SGA and Gonzalez began promoting the idea. Once she graduated, Hubbard and Marcus Thomas, SGA business affairs chair, continued spreading the word about the need for the garden.

After kick-starting the project on the university's crowdfunding page, Launch UTSA, many student organizations, fraternities, sororities, students, faculty, staff and alumni championed together to make the garden possible.

For Hubbard, the project is also personal.

"I have experienced losing a classmate, and I wasn't able to leave campus to attend the memorial service," said Hubbard. "This particular classmate was such a positive person who made everyone he knew feel special. In honor of him and so many others we've lost, having this place to remember together will make a monumental difference in our grieving process."

Dirt will begin turning on the project in spring 2017. The Roadrunner Memorial Garden should be completed over summer break.

- Yvonne Zamora Byrd


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