In light of the recent death of student Kerri Schottanes, junior English education major, various steps have been taken by the school to assist in the grieving process of the student body and faculty.
The office of Student Life, plays a large role in helping to inform and console students after a tragedy.
Magda Manetes, assistant dean of Student Life said her office tries to reach out to the family of the deceased at the beginning of the grieving process.
She provides information on what can be done to assist those with the loss of a loved one and when funeral services are being held.
A mass e-mail is then sent to faculty and students informing them of the loss and what can be done to reach out to those who are grieving, Manetes said.
Those who work in Student Life also try to inform facilities so that a mourning bunting can be placed at both entrances to the College.
The buntings are black and purple cloth that are draped over the entrance signs to show that the school has suffered a loss.
The dean of Student Life and President R. Barbara Gitenstein, contact the family to see whether the school should proceed with memorial services on campus.
If desired by the requests of the family, the campus minister, Father Gabe, holds a service “to reflect the personality of the individual,” Manetes said.
Those involved in setting up the services for the deceased try to get a personal preference based on the families request, involving a favorite song or reading to help commemorate the life of the deceased.
Manetes said that the College tries “to make it as easy on family and friends to reflect their wishes.”
The Office of Student Life also reaches out to the faculty through e-mail, and makes them aware of particular students that may be closely impacted by the passing of a friend and/or student.
Manetes said that those who are mourning are encouraged to attend counseling, headed by Larry Gage, assistant director for Counseling.
“The faculty tend to be extraordinarily sensitive in such cases,” she said.
The Psychological Counseling department seeks to try to “memorialize in the shared experience,” Gage said.
Gage sees his goal as trying to help students handle any tragedy or personal difficulty.
Gage said, “(I am here to) make space in their lives towards acceptance.”
He said he tries to help those who are grieving to accept life without the person they have lost.
According to Gage, Psychological Counseling Services will try to assist students who have personal challenges that may interfere with their academic progress. “I didn’t know her, but I think the school does a fine job making students aware of funeral services and what can be done for the family,” Jimmy Casa, a sophomore art major said.
Those in need of the Psychological Counseling Services can be reached at x2247. Psychological counselor Larry Gage can be reached at Gage@tcnj.edu.
To further support those grieving for Kerri Schottanes, send donations to The Lenni-Lenape Council, Allendale Service Unit, 119 Donnybrook Drive, Allendale, New Jersey 07401.