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VUB calls for commemoration and compassion

Every year on 19 November, VUB commemorates its deceased during the ‘Moment of Consolation’. This gathering focuses on loss and all kinds of suffering in students and staff. We are thinking about those who lost a loved one, but also about those who are ill, provide care or are going through a difficult period. Because the 'Moment of consolation' cannot take place physically, this year, the VUB calls its community to write, post or share messages of support.

The Moment of Consolation was set up last year as a new tradition of VUB Compassionate University. The ceremony on the eve of St V would have taken place on campus at the Monument of Consolation, a piece of art by Philip Aguirre y Otegui. This statue is a tangible symbol for all kinds of suffering and grief.

Offer your support on 19 November via #IAmWithYou #IkLeefMee

To express support for grief is one of those human activities that just can’t be digitised. Still, a word of support can mean so much. The mere realisation that you are not alone can make a world of difference sometimes.

That’s the idea behind the action ‘#IAmWithYou #IkLeefMee’. With this digital initiative, we want to give people heart.

As 19 November approaches, the VUB will focus on loss, grief and human suffering via its digital media. On 19 November we will launch a Facebook overlay and remembrance video. By installing the overlay on your own profile picture or share the commemoration video, you contribute support to those who are going through a difficult time. You can write something yourself or post with the hashtag #IAmWithYou #IkLeefMee.

Connect and support digitally

Social media don’t always have the best reputation, when it comes to genuine interaction and bringing people together. However, in times when we are cast away behind our screens, we could use their potential to connect people. With this action, we want to use them to send out a positive signal of support and connection.

The corona crisis has intensified human suffering immensely. With more than 1 million victims worldwide, more than 14.000 in Belgium, the human impact is very high. A physical goodbye of a beloved one was difficult in the past few months, sometimes impossible. A lot of people still face a hard revalidation, fight with the virus or live in fear being a risk patient. We want to express the support and compassion we cannot offer physically at the moment, in a digital way.

Compassionate University

Last year, by signing a declaration of intent, the Vrije University of Brussels committed itself to being a compassionate university. By doing so, the VUB wants to acknowledge that situations of sorrow and suffering are part of daily life in the university community, and that we want to pay special attention to this. We want to be a university community where everyone encourages, facilitates and supports each other during such profound moments and experiences in life.

The Corona situation has taught us more than ever how important it is to support each other in difficult moments. With the initiative #IleefMee #IAmWithYou we want to make this visible and known in a corona safe way.

#VUB commemorates #IkLeefMee #VUBcommemorates #IamWithYou