Candlelight flickered over the faces of hundreds of students as they honored the life of Binghamton University student Joao Souza on Monday night.

The students, holding red roses and gold and black balloons, listened as some of Souza’s closest friends shared their memories at a vigil outside of Appalachian Collegiate Center.

Roughly a week ago, Souza, 19, was fatally stabbed in Windham Hall of Moutainview College. He was a freshman majoring in engineering and a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity.

The vigil opened with remarks from University President Harvey Stenger, who expressed his condolences to Souza’s friends and described Souza as smart, caring and captivating.

Jacob Hanna/Pipe Dream Photographer

“I’m sorry that I never met Joao,” Stenger said. “But I know from all of you being here, and the many people who told me about him, that he was someone special.”

As students began to light candles, Oliver Schoenfeld, a sophomore majoring in art and design, became emotional while discussing Souza’s personality and his memories of him.

“He wouldn’t want us to be dwelling on all the questions we have about his passing,” Schoenfeld said. “He would want us to be remembering all the good times.”

Schoenfeld said Souza was his best friend.

“I can’t put into words how much we’re all going to miss him,” Schoenfeld said. “[He] will always be in my heart as a friend.”

Jacob Hanna/Pipe Dream Photographer

Daniel Greenberg, a senior double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and business administration, also spoke at the vigil. He said he was also friends with Haley Anderson, who was found dead in a residence on Binghamton’s West Side on March 9.

“I’ve lost several people during my time here in Binghamton, and I can say with honesty that it doesn’t get any easier,” Greenberg said. “When I lost somebody close to me, all but just a few short weeks ago, by the name of Haley Anderson, I struggled to put the pieces of my life back together.”

Nevertheless, Greenberg emphasized the importance of moving forward.

“While I may never be able to answer that question, I can assure you that people who have passed would want nothing more than all of us to continue living our lives, in the best way possible,” Greenberg said. “By cherishing every moment, by appreciating every experience, by spreading love to those around you and by living a life that is worth living.”

Jacob Hanna/Pipe Dream Photographer

As the vigil drew to a close, Rabbi Akiva Weiss of Hillel at Binghamton sang a song in honor of Souza, and his closest friends released balloons into the clear night sky.

“If I could have the next couple minutes with him, I would just like to say thank you to him for the memories that he was able to have with those around him,” Greenberg said. “During times like this, you want to see the brighter things in people and you’d like to hope that there is still hope that exists in this world in a period like this, so I’d just want to say thank you to him for being able to provide that for all of us while he was still around.”