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Local

Gallery showing to support survivors of 2008 campus shooting


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DeKALB – An art gallery opening Wednesday at Northern Illinois University will showcase “Forward, Together Forward” artwork created and submitted by students.

The gallery is being hosted by members of the programming board of NIU’s Office of Support & Advocacy, the office set up to work with those most impacted by a campus shooting two years ago. Shortly after 3 p.m. Feb. 14, 2008, a former graduate student walked into Room 101 of Cole Hall and opened fire, killing five and injuring 21 before turning the gun on himself.

Samantha Brunell, a junior from Gurnee studying broadcast journalism, is helping spearhead the event. A member of the OSA programming board, the group hopes to use proceeds generated by the opening to purchase a tree to plant on campus in honor of the survivors of shooting.

“I think that we have done really well, the survivors of the shooting,” she said. “We are on the right track. We’ve come out of this terrible tragedy stronger. ... We remain strong and will live on.”

The idea for the exhibition came after Brunell noticed that the walls in the Office of Support & Advocacy, which is housed in Gilbert Hall, were bare. That in turn inspired the idea for a gallery.

A panel will judge the artwork before the gallery opening at 6 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but OSF hopes to raise money through a bake sale, silent auction and donations.

Plans for the tree – including what type and where it would go – are not set in stone, Brunell said. She personally would love to see it on the hill in the MLK Commons where white crosses were set up immediately following the shooting.

Brunell said a tree would cost at least $1,000, and a plaque to go with it $500.

She would want something “large and beautiful” that can survive DeKalb’s constantly changing weather.

“It’s something that is going to stand out and represent all of the people affected by the shooting,” she said. “It had a different symbolic meaning than the memorial. A tree says, ‘Look, there is still life here.’”

The fundraiser is part of the weeklong national anti-violence campaign “Enough is Enough.”
Starting Monday, NIU organizations and departments, together with local community partners, will be holding events directed at the goal of reducing campus violence with a message of “Enough is Enough.”

The keynote presentation will be from the CeaseFire Organization, sponsored by the Campus Activity Board, at 7 p.m. Monday in the Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium, according to a news release from the university.

If you go

What: Feb. 14 survivors to host exhibition of "Forward, Together Forward" art

When: 6-9 p.m. Wednesday in the Diversions Lounge of the Holmes Student Center

Cost: Free, but baked goods can be purchased to raise money for a tree dedicated to the Feb. 14 survivors. Freewill donations will be accepted.

Know more: For information or to make a donation, call 815-753-0940. To find out more about Enough is Enough, visit www.niu.edu/studentinvolvement

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