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Concert raises money for Sandy Hook

The Stony Brook University Choir were among of the performers that evening. (EFAL SAYED)
The Stony Brook University Choir were among of the performers that evening. (EFAL SAYED)

The Sandy Hook Benefit Concert not only paid tribute to the lives that were lost and impacted by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. through song, dance and green ribbons, but it also emphasized the meaning of community and even featured a brief lesson on active shooters.

The event was held on Monday, March 4 in the Tabler Center Black Box Theatre, making it the first of Community Week. “We need to be good to each other,” guest speaker Assistant Dean of Students Jeffrey Barnett said. “I ask us to be Seawolves in this community, where the focus is not on everyone’s differences but on how everyone can help each other be better people.”

Despite not charging for admission, the event raised $650 that night through donations and a bake sale. This money will be donated to the United Way Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

“It was important to us to make sure that we went with a foundation and a charity where the money was going to go directly to the community, and this is really the only one that did that,” Jeremy Marchese, the director of the event, a senior staff assistant of the University Scholars Program, said.

Steven Adelson, Dana Castro, Garry Lachhar, Alisa Rybkin, Timothy Shub and April Slamowitz, all of whom are on the University Scholars Council, helped tremendously.

The event was co-sponsored by the University Scholars, the Honors College, ACH and the National Residence Hall Honorary.

With 232 in attendance plus Wolfie, “the event went better than any of us had planned for,” Rybkin, a freshman chemistry major, said.

With a slideshow of all the victims as their backdrop, the Pipettes kicked off the not-so typical concert with a beautiful tear-jerking tribute of the song “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton.

But one of the most important aspects of the night was Assistant Chief of Police Eric Olsen’s presentation on how to react when in an active shooter situation. The three steps to take, which are acted out in a video that can be found on the University Police Department (UPD)’s website, are Run, Hide and Fight.

In case of an emergency, dialing 911 on a campus phone and 632-3333 on a non-campus phone will connect right to UPD. Students are highly encouraged to sign up for SB Guardian, a way to silently contact police, on SOLAR.

The night also featured captivating performances by Swallow This, Rybkin and Harrison Pugh’s ballroom dance duet as well as a closing song by the Stony Brook University Choir.

“I really liked Swallow This, and the Choir was really good,” Jessica Hundal, a freshman biochemistry major who attended the event to fulfill one of her ACH requirements, said. Freshmen in Leadership and Service also received credit.

A panel made up of students from the University Scholars Program and Honors College, led by Ahmed Belazi and Christine Szaraz from the Center for Prevention and Outreach, also broke up the night to reflect on the students’ reactions of the tragedy as well as personal stress-relieving outlets.

“It’s strange that when something like this happens, even if whether it’s in your backyard or whether it’s in a different state, everybody really wants to help and they don’t know how, so I think having events like this to show that you don’t necessarily have to be in the same town to show your support and help people that are going through it is really important,” Marchese said.

Additional donations will be collected until Friday, March 15. Those who are interested should contact Marchese through email at [email protected].

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