Student and faculty memorial site planned on campus

Memorial will be a green bench with engraved bricks


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

The proposed location of a memorial for students, faculty and staff who died during their time at WSU.

LINH NGUYEN, Evergreen reporter

A memorial site will be built in dedication to all of the students, faculty, and staff who died during their time at WSU.
The location of the site will be between the Smith Gym and the WSU library parking garage.

Several members of the WSU community passed away last school year. Three students overdosed on opioid drugs. Kota Inoue, a WSU professor who taught Japanese, died before winter break last year driving in heavy snowfall. Rachel Pomeroy, Dashiell Mortell and Jessica Brooks died travelling in harsh winter conditions.

The project was initially sparked by the many deaths of WSU students on Highway 26.

Pomeroy’s and Brooks’ car collisions occurred on Highway 26, which prompted engineering students to take on redesigning Highway 26 to be safer for travelers as their senior capstone project.

Carmen Jaramillo, ASWSU deputy chief of staff, said in an email that the location for the bench was reserved because of the private and quiet atmosphere.

The idea for the memorial was originally suggested by Mandy Bickert, a friend of two mothers whose children died on Highway 26.
From crowdsourcing efforts that started last school year, Bickert raised over $4,000 for the memorial. In addition, ASWSU and the WSU Foundation will fund the memorial site.

A committee made up of faculty and staff helped finalize the details for the location of the bench.

To pay respect to students, Jaramillo said, the memorial site would be in the form of a park bench. Surrounding the bench would be bricks engraved with the names of students, faculty and staff who died.

Don Hulst, director of Facilities Services, is an administrator who is working with ASWSU to create the site.

Hulst says the committee is currently in the design process and exploring costs for the memorial bench. His team will work on developing the dimensions of the bench and the number and sizes of the bricks.

Hulst mentioned that the bench is planned to be metal, a hunter-green color, and have a plaque. The layout of the engraved bricks are not yet finalized, though it should be able to accommodate future additions.

JJ Oliver, the director of leadership and annual gifts for the WSU Foundation said the bench will not be fully completed until late spring, due to weather conditions affecting the construction site.

“When you make a memorial, you want it to last forever,” Oliver said.