More than 50 Binghamton University students and faculty members gathered at Appalachian Collegiate Center for a candlelight vigil on Friday night to honor Brandon Peart-Wright, a BU student who passed away earlier this semester.
Peart-Wright was a senior majoring in political science from Rockville Centre, New York, who transferred to BU after attending Nassau Community College for two years. During his time on campus, he served as a mentor for the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program and was a member of BU Model United Nations.
His body was found in early September in Palisades Hall of Hillside Community. The University has not released an official cause of death.
At the vigil, hosted by SSS, attendees were encouraged to write positive messages to Peart-Wright on a poster board. Many wrote thank-you notes for his kindness and friendship.
Stephen Rebello, director of the SSS program, encouraged those who spoke to remember the positive impact Peart-Wright left on the BU community. During the vigil, fellow students, coworkers and family members remembered his character and shared their favorite memories. Sofia Jordan, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she became close with Peart-Wright during the SSS summer training programs.
“He was a really sweet boy — I got to know him more over the summer after inviting him to sit with me at the training for resident assistant and TRIO members,” Jordan said. “When we finally got to talk, he explained how passionate he was about being a mentor, and back then I wasn’t part of those but actually I ended up applying to TRIO because of Brandon [Peart-Wright].”
As a fellow TRIO member, Ada Cheng, a sophomore double-majoring in human development and mathematics, said she always felt appreciated around him and admired his ability to care for others.
“We weren’t the closest, but we worked together and had some good interactions,” Cheng said. “I’m kind of shy so I don’t initiate conversations, but he was one of the only people I felt comfortable talking to — he was just so sweet and so warm. I could talk to him about anything, he always greeted me and tried to make the most out of every interaction.”
Ryan Gennarelli, a Binghamton’s New York State University Police (UPD) officer and Crisis Intervention Team-trained mental health law instructor, stressed the resources available to those struggling with the loss of Peart-Wright.
“If you are in a crisis, we want to make sure you have the help you need,” Gennarelli said. “It’s about knowing where to go and helping those around you as well. Students can contact the [University] Counseling Center, Residential Life, UPD and plenty of off-campus resources.”
Additionally, Gennarelli discussed the importance of being there for others after the loss of a BU community member, urging attendees to lean on each other.
“We are all a part of the same community and we all feel for this situation,” Gennarelli said. “We are all there for each other in times such as these.”