Memorial Service - Alumni Hall

Western Community Gathers to Honour Victims of PS752 Plane Crash Tragedy

Shloak Srivastava

Led by heartfelt speeches, a music choir, and candle lighting, Western University gathered to commemorate the Ukrainian Flight PS752 tragedy that took the lives of 176 people, including four Western University students.

On Jan. 15 2020, a moment of silence was observed throughout campus to pay respect to the students who lost their lives. Later that day, a memorial service was held at Alumni Hall. More than 500 people gathered to honour the lives of those four students who passed away. As a sign of respect, all flags throughout campus were lowered for the day.

Ghazal Nourian, Milad Nahavandi, and Sajedeh Saraeian were graduate students in the Faculty of Engineering. Hadis Hayatdavoudi was a graduate student in the Faculty of Science.

“It's such a huge loss for the family and friends of those who died, but also for the whole Western community and Canada,” said Alan Shepard, President and Vice-Chancellor of Western University.

Faculty supervisors, professors, and campus classmates shared memories and became teary-eyed while talking about the bright and lively souls. Sadaf Mehrabi, on behalf of the Iranian students at Western, termed the four students “beloved souls,” and vowed to remember every memory they shared with others by always keeping them in our hearts.

The music choir played a very soothing and comforting tune, which made attendees emotional and teary. The choir allowed everyone reflect upon the profound loss. Following the candle lighting, people wrote condolence messages for each of the four students.

Among the attendees was Moiz, a second-year student, who talking about the adversity said, “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Political tension should not trap ordinary peoples lives.”

He prays for the eternal peace of all those who lost their lives.

Western University is helping students and other faculty members cope by making counselling and healing resources available 'round the clock. Counsellors were present at Western’s Chu International Centre, in IGAB providing individual grief counselling sessions for those impacted by the tragic events. Counsellors were also present on the day of the Memorial Service just outside Alumni Hall. These services continue to be available for anyone who wishes to access them.

“We have been in touch with the affected families to comfort them," said Shepard. "We are all deeply affected by the loss and I am not sure there are words.”

Friends and family members were overwhelmed to see so many people gather to express their love, and to honour the lives of the lost souls.

The Iranian students community, along with friends and acquaintances, thanked Canadians for supporting them during this hard time.

Ghazal, Milad, Hadis, and Sajedeh will always be missed but they continue to live in our hearts.