Whenever I drive past what used to be the Radisson at the intersection of Alafaya Trail and Colonial Drive, I think of Anwar Rashid, a UCF Knight who died of Type 1 diabetes in July 2011.
I didn’t know Anwar. I simply met his brother Amir at the Panera on University to hear his story. Amir, a UCF grad, painfully recalled finding his brother dead in his car in the Radisson parking lot.
Anwar, who was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was only 9, would have graduated alongside his brother in spring 2012 with a degree in business administration.
Although I never knew him, or laughed with him or cried with him, hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of Anwar.
The death of Michael Namey, a freshman software engineering major, will likely hold the same spot in the minds of those students who sat in class inside the Health and Public Affairs building last Tuesday. Michael collapsed and later died of cardiac arrest.
The death of Chloe Arenas, a 21-year-old biomedical sciences major, will likely occupy the thoughts of fellow Knights driving down 408. Chloe drowned in June after driving her car into a retention pond.
And the most recent death of UCF alumnus Robert Bosso, 28, will likely cause students to pause when they pull onto the Valencia campus. Robert was shot to death outside his apartment Saturday.
But most important, the UCF community will ensure these fallen Knights are remembered for years to come.
Chloe’s friends, family and Florida legislators are working to pass a bill to require more guardrails along highways, something they believe could have saved the aspiring veterinarian’s life. Spearheaded by friend Clarissa Lindsey, Chloe’s Law has gained the support of Sen. Darren Soto and Rep. Rene Plasencia, also a UCF grad.
A petition to install more AEDs around campus has already received 918 signatures at the time of publication. In the wake of Michael’s death, the petition was penned by freshman biomedical sciences major Gabi Davis, who wrote, “I personally believe that there should be one on every floor of every building especially since this is the second largest university in the country and students do live here.”
A vigil is also planned for Oct. 16.
And lastly, the Orlando Police Department is working hard to identify and locate Robert’s killers, who are still at large. The case is currently under investigation, and records are exempt from disclosure at this time.
Loss is a part of life, and unfortunately a part of college life.
But what’s more is the incredible community that is UCF when loss strikes.
At a university comprised of more than 60,000 students, I’d wager only a handful knew these Knights.
And yet, 918 found it in their hearts to sign Michael’s petition; and more than 56,000 were inspired to sign Chloe’s.
And when students gather at Lake Claire in Michael’s memory, many will have never met him. I’m reminded of what an old professor of mine said at Steven Sotloff’s vigil at the Reflecting Pond last September.
“Something brought them here around the Reflecting Pond — we’re all Knights,” Rick Brunson said.
That same thing will bring us together whenever one of our own is taken too soon.
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.