CSU student government keeps tribute flags for deceased students
Even with heavy construction slated to begin at the Lory Student Center next year, ASCSU hopes to continue a long-standing tradition of lowering the CSU flag at half-mast for three days whenever a CSU student dies.
The tradition may be interrupted while construction is underway on the west end of the Lory Student Center, where the flagpoles are currently located.
After being flown at half-mast for three days, the flag is given to the family of the student who has died in a package along with letters or written notes from classmates and friends.
“It’s an important tradition and we want to continue it. I think it’s still in conversation about where its’ going to be relocated to,” said ASCSU President Regina Martel. “I would hope that we can get a CSU flag flying in the plaza area while construction is underway.”
Martel said the only issue is that there’s currently not an unused flagpole that ASCSU could use. If one isn’t found, a temporary one may be installed.
The $65 million LSC project will completely renovate 160,000 square feet of the existing LSC and add approximately 40,000 square feet of new space.
The renovations affecting the flag area are expected to last about a year.
Ashley Vigil, program assistant in the department of student affairs, said the response from family members who received the flag has been “overwhelming.”
“Flying the flag and sending the flag is very meaningful to the families,” Vigil said. “It lets them know their child wasn’t just a faceless student. They’re always so grateful.”
The flag flying is one part of a detailed process the university goes through whenever a student passes away, Vigil said.
After being notified of a student’s death, student services posts a notification to administration, CSU vice presidents and ASCSU. Department heads are also notified so they can let instructors know what has happened.
The student’s financial accounts are closed out and the Department of Education is informed if the student had loans taken out.
“We try to streamline the process so families don’t receive unnecessary calls and mail from the university,” Vigil said.
The dean of students at CSU calls the family and the ASCSU president and vice president write a letter of condolence.
LSC construction is expected to begin sometime after graduation, said Karen McCormick, the special projects coordinator for the LSC. She’s confident the tradition will continue.
“Meaningful things like that we definitely want to keep going,” McCormick said.
Martel said that after the renovation at the LSC is complete, ASCSU plans to install a plaque at the flagpole explaining the tradition and why the flag might be at half-mast.
“We never want to lose anyone,” Martel said. “Having a plaque and the flag tradition allows the community to understand and take that moment of silence and reflection whenever it [the flag] is down.”
Senior Reporter Austin Briggs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.