ASU students, high school community gather to remember faithful friend

ASU students gather for a prayer vigil on Feb. 19, 2015, at Hayden Lawn in memory of an ASU student who died after a fall from a building on the Tempe campus. (Shiva Balasubramanian/ The State Press) ASU students gather for a prayer vigil on Feb. 19, 2015, at Hayden Lawn in memory of an ASU student who died after a fall from a building on the Tempe campus. (Shiva Balasubramanian/ The State Press)

More than 200 ASU students and Hamilton High School friends and teachers crowded Hayden Lawn on Thursday night to honor the memory of a former ASU student who fell from a building on the Tempe campus late last week.

The student fell from the Barry M. Goldwater Center for Science and Engineering on Friday, in the second suicide at the building in two years.

Community members observed a moment of silence, wrote letters and brought flowers and candles to fashion a makeshift memorial on the steps of the "beacon of knowledge."

Surina Das, who met the student in sixth grade, said he loved "League of Legends," playing ultimate frisbee and forcing his "homebody" friends enjoy the sunshine with some sports outside.

"(He) was the kind of guy that whether you met him for a second or knew him for years, he impacted your life on the spot," Das said. "You saw him and he would just smile at you, and it would be the most genuine smile you ever saw."

At least seven teachers, including Debbie Nipar, from Hamilton High School also came to the vigil.

Friends and family lit candles during the vigil on Feb. 19, 2015, at Hayden Lawn in memory of an ASU student. (Shiva Balasubramanian/ The State Press) Friends and family lit candles during the vigil on Feb. 19,
2015, at Hayden Lawn in memory of an ASU student.
(Shiva Balasubramanian/ The State Press)

"(Other students) were telling stories about how he would learn all the material for the classes and then do a quick tutoring session for the kids who needed to be caught up about an hour before every test, because he was really good at figuring out what exactly everybody needed to know for every test," Nipar said.

Ainesh Pandey, who met the student before freshman orientation, said the student's family welcomed him immediately, even adopting him for one summer when he had no place to stay.

"(Before freshman orientation), we were just walking around and my parents were here, and naturally they cling on to the first Indian family they see," Pandey said. "He was the first and I got to meet him, and we actually became friends."

Pandey said students should try to be aware of what their friends are going through and question any unusual behavior.

"If you see signs (depression/unusual behavior) at all, you better jump on it, because regret is all you're going to have later," Pandey said.

If you or someone you know is looking for help dealing with suicidal thoughts or actions, the ASU-dedicated hotline is 480-921-1006. This number is available 24/7. Counseling services can also be reached by appointment.

Reach the reporter at bmargiot@asu.edu or follow @BenMargiott on Twitter.

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