UNCW holds vigil to remember those killed in Fla. school shooting

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Amid the midweek bustle on a college campus, UNCW students and staff took time to slow down and remember the 17 lives taken at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Students gathered in Lumina Theater Wednesday night to listen to community leaders and peers discuss school safety, mental health, and gun control in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Student organizer Lauren Ingram said she felt the need to dedicate time on campus for students to reflect and remember.

"I didn't want it to go under the radar like it has with some of the other shootings in the past," said Ingram.

She said she has never organized an event like this, but felt compelled to do something.

"There needs to be more conversations," Ingram said. "It really worries me that we are becoming desensitized to things like this and that it's become normal for everyday life, so I really hate that and think we need to draw attention to it."

UNCW's students listened to the names of the 17 people who died in the shooting, and replied "We will remember," vowing to continue the conversation started two weeks ago.

"We can do something about it and I think anything that I can do, and anything that anyone on this campus can do, we should try and do that," said freshman Savannah Willis.

For Willis, the solution was focused on gun control.

"No one should be allowed to have a semi-automatic or an automatic," she said. "I can't think of any use for that gun except for killing people."

For Ingram, the solution encompasses a multitude of changes.

"There's a lot of different areas that need to be talked about," she said. "It's definitely mental health. It's kind of catching those kids who are in the school system that aren't fitting in with their peers or having trouble communicating or just connecting with people. We don't want those people to fall through the cracks and we always want to show support and love to those folks."

She also believes gun control plays a role in the solution.

"I think there needs to be more gun control in the sense of having background checks," Ingram said. "Kids that are under 21 should not have access to guns."

Many of the students shared a common cry, concerned the nation has become desensitized to this violence.

"Each time that it happens it just feels like, when is the next time it's going to happen?" said Willis.

The students vowed to continue using their voices in hopes that this will be the last vigil of its kind.

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.