Opinion | A tribute to Garrett Walker

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Alex Jobin, Staff Columnist

The loss of Garrett Walker is an absolutely devastating tragedy. 

The University of Alabama has nearly 40,000 undergraduate students, but Walker’s death reminds us just how small our campus really is. 

If you are a student who didn’t know Walker, one of your friends or classmates probably did. If you are a faculty member who didn’t have Walker in class, one of your colleagues very well could have.

Personally, I did not know Walker, but it feels as though any one of us could have been in his shoes. And so, in some respect, Walker is all of us. Losing him means losing a piece of the Capstone, a piece of our community.

It is difficult to express exactly how it has felt to be a student in the aftermath of Walker’s passing. There seems to be a lack of words that can properly sum up the mixture of confusion, horror and sadness that our community is experiencing right now. 

And what do we do going forward? How do we go tailgating on Saturday? How do we cheer in the stands at the game? How do we carry on knowing that there will be one less student participating in our traditions and engaging in our community?

I usually like to focus on a “call to action” in my columns, but at this point all we can do is sit with the pure tragedy of the situation. In some ways, having a lack of fingers to point or policies to blame make this loss even more difficult to swallow. 

If there is one thing to take away from this loss, it is a reminder to look after one another. As cheesy or cliché as it may normally sound, we — as a community — have to stick together and take care of each other. 

Whether you knew Garrett Walker or not, any grief you may feel is valid. Hopefully we can take this moment to focus on bringing our community closer together and doing what we can to make our campus a safer environment for everyone.

I will echo the email sent out earlier this week by President Stuart Bell and Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope and suggest that you take full advantage of the resources below if you need someone to talk to:

UA Counseling Center (205-348-3863)

Student Care and Well-Being (205-348-2461)

Employee Assistance Program (800-925-5327)

There is also a GoFundMe campaign organized by Walker’s family to establish a scholarship in his name if you wish to donate.

Questions? Email the Opinions desk at letters@cw.ua.edu.