DCU Students’ Union and the chaplains of the Interfaith Centre have stressed the importance of students opening up about their grief as DCU student Patrick Halpin was laid to rest on Sunday.
First year Actuarial Maths student Patrick Halpin passed away after going missing on a trip to London with DCU Drama Society earlier this month.
DCU SU President, Aaron Clogher, who attended Patrick’s funeral, said the SU was devastated by the news of Patrick’s death and found the past number of weeks very tough but are proud of how the DCU community responded.
Clogher said: “Our students both in London and at home were fantastic in their assistance of the online efforts to spread awareness about his disappearance, and indeed the reaction in the aftermath of the awful news was overwhelming, with large numbers of Patrick’s classmates and friends as well as lecturers and staff travelling to his funeral in Galway.”
The SU have been offering support to those who were close to Patrick over the past number of days; “meeting, talking and just sharing time with many of Patrick’s classmates friends and fellow club and society members,” Clogher told The College View, “and I hope we have been able to provide some support and comfort to them during the most difficult of times.”
The SU are encouraging any students who have been affected by recent events to get in touch with the support services available within the university or the SU.
Clogher said: “Whoever a student feels most comfortable talking to is a good first step, and then they can be introduced to any support services they require from there.
“The SU have already been in touch with the societies affected, Patrick’s classmates, housemates and friends; but if there is anybody who we haven’t reached out to who feel they need to talk, anybody can pop into any of the Sabbats offices any time.”
Father Joe Jones and Sister Susan Jones of the Interfaith Centre echoed the SU’s message to students, saying students should be aware that “it’s ok not to be ok”. They urged students to talk about their grief and not suppress their emotions.
Students dealing with bereavement are welcome to call into the Interfaith Centre. They can seek support from the chaplains, light a candle or spend some quiet time alone in the centre.
The Interfaith Centre chaplains said that they are willing to accommodate students if they wish to arrange a group gathering. “We will work with whatever the students want,” said Fr. Jones.
The SU are planning a remembrance service in the coming weeks, in conjunction with the Chaplaincy team, so that students, staff and the entire DCU Community can come together to pay their respects.
Aoife Mullen and Rachel McLaughlin