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Friends, family ‘Lend a Hand’ for Tripathi

The Tripathi family launched a campaign to garner support for the missing student

Clear skies and sunshine marked the first day of the “Lend Your Hand” campaign on the Main Green Monday. Family members started the campaign shortly after the one-month anniversary of the disappearance of former member of the class of 2012 Sunil Tripathi to draw attention to the continuing search, mother Judy Tripathi said.

The “Lend Your Hand” campaign encourages people to write messages on their hands and submit photos to the Facebook page created for the search, Judy Tripathi said. The message “could be to Sunil or to anyone involved in struggles,” she added.

“The idea is it will keep folks coming back in,” sister Sangeeta Tripathi ’04 said. Because most of the campaign is online, the table on the Main Green gave family members a chance to “do it today in real form,” she added.

Equipped with markers and cameras to snap photos, family members manned the table with help from students and staff affiliated with the Third World Center. Students stopped by to write messages to Tripathi on their hands, said Sarah Day Dayon ’15, who worked at the table.

“I wrote, ‘You are not alone,’” said Dayon, a Minority Peer Counselor  from the TWC. Other students wrote messages like, “‘Come home soon,’” she said.

The campaign was also a good way to “show some communal support” for mental health in general at Brown, she said.

A University photographer and a Providence Police officer also stopped by the table, Judy Tripathi said.

The campaign collected more than 100 photos Monday, Judy Tripathi said. In addition to collecting the hand photos, the campaign is encouraging people to share Tripathi’s “missing” poster, she said.

Meghan Koushik ’13, a Minority Peer Counselor Friend, said Sangeeta Tripathi, a former MPC and MPC Friend, asked the TWC for help with the campaign.

“For the most part people have been really willing to participate,” Koushik said, adding she thought students felt “happy to have some way to show their support.”

“Most all of the students knew about (Tripathi),” Judy Tripathi said.

Though the campaign is not specific to Brown, family members chose to reach out specifically to community members, Judy Tripathi said. “We’re really excited about the Brown piece because this is our closest community.”

University officials, including Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, and University Chaplain Janet Cooper Nelson, submitted photos, Judy Tripathi said. Other University faculty and staff members, including Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine, Professor of Africana Studies Tricia Rose and Men’s Crew Head Coach Paul Cooke have also submitted photos.

Online, people as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have submitted messages, Judy Tripathi said.

Family members began planning the event to coincide with April 16, the one-month anniversary of Tripathi’s disappearance, but decided to postpone the event out of respect for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Judy Tripathi wrote in an email at the time.

Family members hope the recent uptick in national attention will help expand the search for their son and brother.

“We’re using all the energy that has been generated to engage people to spread the word about Sunil,” Judy Tripathi said. “We’re just wanting to put that into the search for Sunny.”

Family members will return to the Main Green Tuesday and Wednesday to solicit more photos, Judy Tripathi said. They will also distribute table slips at the Sharpe Refectory and the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall throughout the week to raise awareness, she added.

— Additional reporting by Katherine Lamb

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Meghan Koushik '13 as a Minority Peer Counselor and Sarah Dayon '15 as a Minority Peer Counselor Friend. In fact, Koushik is an MPC Friend and Dayon is an MPC. The article also identified Sangeeta Tripathi '04 as a former Residential Peer Leader. In fact, she is a former MPC and MPC Friend. The Herald regrets the errors.  


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