Hundreds gather to remember Sigma Delta Tau sorority member

Hundreds honor SU senior at candlelight vigil

SU community shares tributes to Brianna Herrera, who died in a New Jersey bus accident the night before.
Published: January 25, 2019
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Sigma Delta Tau sorority sisters listen to speakers about Brianna Herrera, who was a fellow sorority member and iSchool senior.

Syracuse University’s orange flag flew at half mast on a chilly Friday night as members of SU’s community held hands and candles outside Hendricks Chapel to remember senior Brianna Herrera, who died in a New Jersey traffic accident the night before.

Hendricks Chapel dean Brian Konkol and Panhellenic Council president Emily Barkann joined Herrera’s friends in speaking to those at the 40-minute somber vigil that culminated with a bright display of hundreds of candles that illuminated the chapel steps.

“Thankful for the solidarity displayed, inspired by the care and compassion expressed, and trusting that all those in pain may receive peace and comfort in the midst of sorrow,” Konkol tweeted afterwards.

SU Dean of Students Robert Hradsky informed the campus community of Herrera’s death through an email to students and staff on Friday at noon.

Herrera, of Ozone Park, N.Y., was an information management and technology major in the iSchool with a minor in public communications in the Newhouse School. She was also a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority. According to Herrera’s LinkedIn profile, she was a technology intern for Major League Baseball last summer.

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Syracuse students and members of the Panhellenic community stand together in a moment of silence for senior Brianna Herrera Friday night outside Hendricks Chapel.

New Jersey State Police said that Herrera was on a bus heading to New York City via I-80. The accident happened at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night. According to USA Today, three cars and the bus were involved. 20 people were injured and two were in critical condition.

Sigma Delta Tau hosted the Friday night vigil that was organized in conjunction with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

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Hundreds of students stand arm-in-arm at the vigil for Brianna Herrara at Hendricks Chapel.

Shawn Padonu, a graduate student and a member of the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, said the vigil was a testament to the unity of Greek life on campus.

“Times like this, no matter our letters, we stand together,” Padonu said.

Kiana Lally, whose roommate was Herrera’s little sister for Sigma Delta Tau, said the vigil was an “emotional time” for everyone.

“I wasn’t expecting so many people to come out,” Lally said. “It’s painful, but good that we all came out to remember [Brianna].”

FASA canceled Friday’s sorority activities as the annual recruitment period is set to conclude with Sunday’s bid day.

Hradsky encouraged the Syracuse University community to make use of the resources and services available. Students can contact the Counseling Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (315) 443-4715. The Office of Student Assistance is also available Monday through Friday at (315) 443-4357. Additional support and services are available at Hendricks Chapel at (315) 443-2901.

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Students embrace during Friday night's candlelight vigil for Brianna Herrera.
Avatar for Erin Gavle

is a News Lead Producer for The NewsHouse and newspaper and online journalism senior.

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Avatar for Erin Gavle

is a lead news producer at The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.