CALDWELL, NJ –The Caldwell University community gathered for a candlelight walk and a program on Wednesday evening to support its Nepalese students and alumni following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal on April 25. Caldwell has 33 students from Nepal and many alumni from that nation.
The evening included remarks from Nepalese students and Caldwell University staff and administration, a minute of silence, prayers, music, videos and a candlelight walk to the campus peace pole.
Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for Student Life, introduced the event and spoke about the university’s love for its Nepalese students and alumni and how the earthquake has impacted the entire campus.
“Tonight the Caldwell University community gathers in solitude with our family from Nepal,” she said. Maulin Joshi, director of International Student Services and advisor of the International Student Organization, introduced a prayer and reflection and showed a video of Nepal before and after the earthquake.
Hritesh Regmi, a student from Nepal and a communication arts major, said that for the Nepalese students the extent of the trauma is incomprehensible. The places that they grew up loving, that “thousands from across the world came to visit, are now gone,” he said. “The idea of walking around our hometown and nothing being the same is disorienting.”
Caldwell’s president, Dr. Nancy Blattner, expressed the university’s care for its Nepalese students and alumni. She said they rejoice that as of this time, no immediate family members of students have been counted among those who perished in the aftermath of the earthquake.
“Together as a community, we mourn for the loss experienced by our students and their family members—loss of homes and personal possessions, loss of familiar landmarks in Kathmandu, loss of cultural heritage in Nepal that dates back to 300 AD,” she said.
The students are raising money for the America Nepal Medical Foundation. They have set up a Facebook site called, “Caldwell University Prays for Nepal.”
Blattner said the university is committed to supporting the Nepalese students and alums now, and in the future.
“In the days, weeks and months to come, we will work with you to raise money to be sent to Nepal for the humanitarian efforts underway to assist the survivors who already are working to rebuild,” said a school representative.
Regmi said the response of the Caldwell University community has been incredible in helping the students process the tragedy and assist them in their outreach and fundraising efforts.
“The whole nation [of Nepal] may be disoriented, but our friends in the global community are still helping us find our feet,” said Regmi.
He urged those in the audience to hold on to hope and to believe that the worst has passed and that things can get better.
“Let’s continue to do what we can, and let’s always continue to pray for Nepal,” he said.