Castleton State College is currently in a state of mourning over the tragic loss of sophomore Brian Dagle. Dagle, an elementary education major from East Lyme, Ct., died off campus early Saturday morning. State police issued a statement Sunday saying the death was not suspicious.
A somber silence settled outside the Campus Center Saturday evening as 150 students, faculty and staff gathered under the full moon for a candlelight vigil in memory of Dagle.
Students, who learned of Dagle’s death in a campus-wide e-mail Saturday morning, created a giant circle on the lawn and the light of the candles they held showed bright and warm against the dark sky and bitter cold. They comforted one another with long embraces and soothing words.
“It’s a sad day for Castleton friends and family. But it’s also a day for an extended family like ours to come together,” Castleton president Dave Wolk said as he addressed the group before the silent vigil began.
“You can remain here as long as you like, with the support of everyone in this circle, and in this community,” Wolk said.
Students took that to heart, remaining in a large circle, supporting one another in silence for 45 minutes or so before the group began to slowly disperse.
Those closest to Dagle, however, remained vigil for an hour and twenty minutes before finally deciding to head home.
“The friends that he had here were some of the best friends he could ask for,” said Bridget Dusha, Dagle’s Community Advisor and next-door neighbor when he lived on campus.
“He was such a fun guy. He loved life. Sometimes we would just sit outside my room and talk for hours. He’d tell me all about his day or what he was doing that night,” Dusha remembered fondly.
Katelyn Bashaw, a junior, was a good friend of Dagle.
“He was always happy. He always had a smile on his face, and was always the first person to say hello. He touched a lot of lives,” Bashaw said with tears in her eyes.
Many of those who were closest to Dagle were unable to speak because they were too upset. On the opposite end, even those who didn’t know Dagle well, showed up at the vigil to support the community in their time of need.
“I only knew him as an acquaintance, but it doesn’t take many degrees of separation to have somebody’s death affect you,” said junior Megan Harris as she cried.
The Wellness Center has free, walk-in professional counseling available to those who may need someone to talk to in this tragic time. There will be a memorial service for Dagle, but details have yet to be determined.
“I encourage you all to reach out to one another, and support each other,” Wolk said.
It’s clear from the number of students in attendance that Brian Dagle will be truly missed.