StudCo, ODOS distribute orange ribbons in recognition of Graham

Campaign reaches more than 7,500 students


Orange ribbons were distributed at Scott Stadium, on the Lawn and to various student organizations Saturday in recognition of Hannah Graham, the second-year College student who has been missing since Sept. 13.

The initiative was organized by Second Year Council and Student Council in collaboration with Dean of Students Allen Groves, and reached more than 7,500 students on Grounds.

“The message of the ribbons is ‘Hope for Hannah,’ and they are designed to keep Hannah and her family squarely in our thoughts, even as we go about our lives on a busy weekend,” Groves said. “The search for her is ongoing, and we remain hopeful that she will return.”

Second Year President Abraham Axler, who is also the Student Council representative body chair, said the goal of the orange ribbon campaign, along with the candlelight vigil held Sept. 18, is to help the student body remain optimistic.

“The idea is just to remain positive, so this a symbolic representation of positivity,” Axler said. “It’s a sign of hopefulness. … It helps people remain focused on the task at hand, which is finding Hannah, and bringing Hannah home.”

Axler said though the ribbon campaign was relatively simple to undertake, its effects were widely felt.

“The orange ribbons are something really easy to do,” he said. “Orange is Hannah’s favorite color. By some grace of God, it’s also our school’s color, so it really worked out quite well.”

Above all, Axler said the ribbons were a symbol of community.

“By seeing everybody wear these orange ribbons, there’s also this sense that we’re not alone, that we’re one community trying to bring Hannah home,” he said.

Awareness about the campaign spread rapidly via groups across Grounds, including Greek organizations and several organizations Hannah is involved with, such as the Virginia Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team.

First-year College student Kevin Martin was one of thousands of students who received an orange ribbon before the football game Saturday.

“I was really impressed by everything the University has done in light of recent events, and I’m really happy to be a part of a community where people look out for each other,” Martin said.

Axler said the current atmosphere on Grounds remains both hopeful and heavy.

“There’s two overwhelming feelings,” he said. “The first feeling is hope. We still believe that Hannah will come home. The second feeling is to some extent frustration, because there are a lot of very big questions that still remain unanswered.”

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