The Maneater

ResLife honors freshman with balloon release

Sorority sister Julia Zwillenberg: “I’m so lucky to have so many random, crazy, funny memories that involve Kayce.”

Students gather together in the North Hall and Center Hall courtyard to release balloons in honor of Phi Mu Kayce Goldberg passing away.

Posters of Kayce Goldberg looked over a group of about 40 people in the courtyard between North and Center halls Thursday evening. The solemn crowd was gathered to release balloons in memory of Goldberg, an MU freshman and Phi Mu sorority member who passed away March 9.

Participants wrote notes on slips of paper and tied them to blue balloons. Some wrote the notes on the balloons themselves with Sharpie markers. A table was set up with electric candles, vases of flowers and a pile of rocks on it.

Rabbi Abraham Lapine, one of the co-directors of Chabad at MU, said the rocks were a Jewish tradition. Mourners place them on graves instead of flowers because flowers die after a few days, but rocks stand the test of time.

As the sun started to set, Center Hall President Kira Schneider called for the memorial to begin. She said it was good to see such a large turnout and introduced two of Goldberg’s close friends, Lexi Ray and Julia Zwillenberg, who gave a joint speech. The three girls attended and graduated from high school together in Dallas.

“When we were thinking about writing this, we had no idea where to start,” Ray said. “How do you describe someone who brought such joy and happiness to everyone’s lives? We then thought about what she would want. She’d want us all to not mourn, but to remember the time we shared and the type of person she was.”

Ray and Zwillenberg shared stories of their time in high school and their first semester of college with their best friend, who lived a floor above them in Center Hall.

“I’m so lucky to have so many random, crazy, funny memories that involve Kayce,” said Zwillenberg, who is also a member of Phi Mu.

She and Ray found out after Goldberg’s death that their friend’s organs would be donated, potentially saving 60 lives.

“As she passed away, she gave the greatest gift of life to so many other people,” Zwillenberg said. “That’s the kind of person she was. She’d drop anything for anyone and cared about so many people, and that’s why we were so lucky to call her our best friend.”

Natalie Harshman, Goldberg’s sorority big sister, said her only memory with Goldberg in which they weren’t laughing was when they first met on Bid Day in August, but after they broke the ice, that day became the memory they laughed about the most.

“Whenever I think back and laugh (about) it, I know she’s still laughing with me,” Harshman said.

Lapine emphasized the importance of honoring a loved one through small acts of kindness. He said that Goldberg is still with her friends and family in spirit.

“In Judaism, we learn that physical bodies don’t last forever, but the soul of a human being is eternal,” he said. “The soul of Kayce continues to live on, even after she passed away.”

Following the speeches, Center Hall coordinator Sylvia Jauregui led the group to the edge of the courtyard, where the balloons were released into the evening sky.

Edited by Emily Gallion | egallion@themaneater.com

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