Editorial: IN THE LOOP What we should learn from Alex Sengoba

The Whitworth community has been reeling since learning of Alex Sengoba’s apparent suicide. The last suicide on campus occurred in 1990, and it’s as shocking now as it was then.

One of the only things we as a community can do in a time like this is to remember Alex fondly and to learn to be more aware. As confused as we are right now, we can and should learn from the tragedy.

Alex taught us that to be a friend is to listen. At his memorial service, alumnus and friend Jack Dunbar shared about his friendship with Alex when he was first at Whitworth. “I could sit down with Alex for a whole breakfast and not hear a word about him,” Dunbar said. “He was committed to being a friend to people.”

We are ever reminded of the wonderful community we are part of. Whitworth students who had never been friends with Alex, who had never so much as met him, cried at his memorial service. They wrote notes to his family and prayed for his friends. It is not only the people closest to him that grieve, but the Whitworth community as a whole.

Alex reminded us that we never know the full story. Although Alex suffered internally, everyone who spoke at the memorial service commented on Alex’s brilliant, ever-present smile.

As a community and as individuals, we need to be aware of the people around us. Too often we become caught up in our own problems and struggles that we do not consider those of another.

Even the happiest, brightest person we know may be suffering. Students gets six free sessions at the counseling center. Please utilize this valuable resource if you are struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or having suicidal thoughts, please take advantage of these resources:

Whitworth Health and Counseling Center

Phone: (509) 777-4450

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Local: (509) 838-4428

National: 1-800-273-TALK

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

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