Students Organize ‘Last 5’ Walk, Vigil As Memorial Events
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 02:04
The concern, at first, was how to get people to sign up. Danielle Cole, CSON ’15, and Michael Padulsky, LSOE ’15, were both stopped short of finishing the Boston Marathon after the two bombings on Monday, and they wanted to finish the race together. They were sitting in a dorm on Monday night with friends when Padulsky came up with the idea to walk the last five miles from the Boston College campus to the finish line, and invite the rest of the BC community to join.
“Why don’t we do something about this?” Padulsky said. “We weren’t able to finish our marathon. Why don’t we do something to commemorate it?”
The two made a Facebook event at 11 p.m. that night called “Boston Marathon: The Last 5,” but were worried they wouldn’t be able to spread the message to enough people.
“We had said to each other, ‘How are we going to network so that people actually come to this?’” Cole said. “We didn’t think enough people would come.”
Within five minutes, 300 people had signed up. Within an hour, the number approached 2,000. Before Cole went to sleep, more than 3,000 had accepted the invitation to finish the race on Friday afternoon.
“It was funny, because you’d think after running 26 miles you’d be tired, but I can tell you I did not sleep well that night because I was thinking about, how are we going to get this event together with 3,000 people,” Cole said.
University administrators and BCPD intervened the next morning after receiving concerned calls from city officials, and ultimately Cole and Padulsky agreed to postpone the event until a later date.
“Everyone was very supportive and helpful,” Padulsky said.
More than 10,000 people had indicated they would participate in the walk at that point—that number was over 17,000 as of Wednesday night. Cole and Padulsky recognized that Friday was no longer a feasible option.
“They’re very supportive of the event, the idea, and what it brings to Boston and Boston College,” Padulsky said. “They are just concerned about the amount of people, Boston still being a crime scene, and just the security in general. That was their main concern, which is totally understandable to us.”
Instead, Cole and Padulsky have organized a vigil for 4 p.m. Friday on O’Neill Plaza with prayer, speakers, and music.
“What we decided was that, we have this huge support system right now,” Padulsky said. “As Dani says, we have this energy. We don’t want this to be gone by rescheduling the walk. We want to capture this energy in an event this Friday. It will be more contained to the Boston College community.”
They have been in contact with other Boston area and ACC schools about holding similar vigils on other college campuses at the same time.
“It will still be meaningful, and I think it directs the energy behind this event in a more focused way,” Cole said. “I think our concern was that if we don’t do something, people are going to show up and they’re going to walk, regardless of whether we are there or not. We wanted to channel that energy.”
Cole and Padulsky are both adamant that, after the vigil, they will get back to work on organizing the “Last 5” event. Padulsky’s run was halted right as he approached the BC campus, and Cole was even closer—she had just passed the .2 mile marker when the blasts went off. She saw both of the explosions and temporarily lost hearing in one ear due to her proximity.
“The walk is still happening,” Cole said. “We’re in the process of working this out and it’s going to happen, and people are enthusiastic about that. But for right now, let’s think short term and do what we can do and work within the boundaries we have.”