Dear W&L Alums,

I’m reaching out because I need your help. I need you to take a few moments and remember your W&L days. The glory days. The wild and incredible ride college was for all of us. I need you to remember your roommates, your classmates. Remember the fun you had. The incredible gift our classes were. That first time you walked over the footbridge. Remember the feeling you have when you’re on campus. The beauty of Lexington. Remember the drives to Goshen, floating down the river, the hiking trips. Remember the fraternities and sororities- what they meant to each of us if you were a part of them. Remember the people’s faces who made up those four (or occasionally five) years. Remember the parties. The bands and jump dancing. Remember those wild nights far out of town. Now try to remember how you got home. How did your friends get home? 

I know it’s uncomfortable, but I need you to remember how drinking and driving touched your life back then. I would love to learn of the friends you lost and how that loss or losses impacted your life then and now.

After the tragic loss of Kelsey Durkin last fall, I wrote a letter to the students. It was supposed to serve as a small call to action for the student body.. if anyone read it. I was shocked at the reception it had and so happy that it helped so many who were grieving. Recently, a student reached out and asked if I would participate in the Inaugural Generals Weekend, hosted by the Kelsey Committee, this spring during alumni weekend. To kick off the weekend, there will be a talk in Lee Chapel where I have been asked to give a speech.  I only have my story to tell, you see, so this is where you come in. I would much prefer to also share the insights you have gained from senselessly losing our friends at far too young an age.

So if you will, please email me your thoughts and memories of your friends at southarddiaries@gmail.com. I hope you’ll help me make this upcoming weekend a celebration of their lives and give current students perspective on this troubling topic.

Much love,

Eloise

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