On Dec. 21, Dean Bolton sent an all-campus e-mail informing the College that Darryl Brown ’13 had been hit by a large vehicle near Boston on the evening of Dec. 20. Bolton continued to update students, faculty and staff throughout the holiday season and into Winter Study on Brown’s progress on his long road to recovery. Although the College community was dispersed across the globe for winter break when the news first arrived, Brown’s family has received an outpouring of support from Brown’s friends and classmates.
“I remember wanting to hop on a plane and rush back to the east coast, to see Darryl and be with my friends in these horrible circumstances,” Claire Seizovic ’13, Brown’s entrymate and close friend, said.
From campus gatherings in Thompson Memorial Chapel to supportive letters sent to his immediate family, members of the College community have reached out in many ways during this time of need and Bolton has kept the campus informed of Brown’s condition and improvements through her all-campus e-mails.
“Ordinarily [all-campus e-mails] are only one time statements,” Bolton said. “But the initial idea was to let the campus be aware of the seriousness of the situation. How we went forward was then, and continues to be, up to the family.”
Although sending many all-campus e-mails about Brown’s situation in only a few weeks time was out of the ordinary, Bolton was “taking her lead” from Brown’s immediate family and their requests. “They wanted me to help make the community aware of what was happening, because there was such an upwelling of support. And, as the situation was initially so precarious the family was not able to respond to everyone who was reaching out to them wanting to know how Darryl was doing,” Bolton said.
On Tuesday, Mei Kazama ’16, a first-year who does not personally know Brown, organized the construction of 1000 paper cranes to “grant (him) luck and recovery from illness or injury.”
Other friends of Brown say that they are not surprised at all at the outpouring of support.
“It’s been awesome but really not surprising to see the outpour of love and support for Darryl,” Ebenezer Gyasi ’13 said. “Knowing Darryl Brown, I can say he’d be thrilled about the support and would encourage everyone to keep an optimistic outlook and not feel sorry.”
Despite their critical role in keeping students informed, Bolton’s e-mails did raise questions for some close to Brown. “On one hand, it’s been wonderful to be around friends and entrymates and be able to talk over everything and share our experiences,” Emily Levy ’13, Brown’s entrymate and friend, said. “On the other hand … it seems strange to me how public everything is, and I’m concerned that people are being forced into conversations and situations that they wouldn’t normally be a part of.”
Bolton explained that she followed the wishes of Brown’s family through this trying time.
“We are trying to serve the family and serve the community,” Bolton said. The College will also help to set up a fund for members of the community to donate to the Brown family to help defray the significant hospital care costs that recovery will entail. “I honestly believe that all of the positive, proactive discussions about how we can support Darryl and his family are what will help the community rebuild the most,” Seizovic said.