Tish Carmona, a senior at the University of Maryland at College Park, organized a 5k run in honor of her classmate who died unexpectedly in early September.
Vincent Tran was also a senior at UMD and majored in Public Relations like Carmona. He was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and even held the position of Public Relations Director for the chapter.
The UMD PSSR website created a blog in honor of him and to allow students to remember their favorite moments with Tran.
"I’ve been thinking about how to write this for the past week, and struggling, as there are not words that are worthy to express what it feels to have lost Vincent Tran," said blog writer Eric Edney. "I bet he could have come up with the perfect words in this moment. That is what Vincent did. He excelled. He was a leader. He was someone we all knew would become a great success."
The UMD PSSR chapter have also created a scholarship in his name: The Vincent Tran Diversity Scholarship. Because Tran was a minority in the PR program, this scholarship will award one PR student a year with a monetary prize for "demonstrating a commitment to the field" and highlighting "how being different is good in today's society."
All of the proceeds from the 5k will go to the scholarship fund.
The 5k run, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, is bringing together friends, family and classmates of Tran to show the impact he had on all of their lives and the PR department at UMD.
“He was very smart, super creative and always willing to help his classmates, answer questions and even crack a joke when needed," said Emily Allen on the UMD PSSR blog. "He brought so much positivity and optimism to the classroom in times of high stress and never had a bad thing to say about anything or anyone."
Carmona talked to Fresh U through Facebook direct messaging about her inspiration for organizing the run.
"It's a sad way to be inspired, but I have known several young people and students who have passed away within the past four or five years, and most of them have had 5Ks in their honor," she said. "They're a great way to bring people together to run for a cause."
Carmona has also been in contact with Tran's family, who will be taking part in the 5k run. They are so touched that so many people at UMD care about their son and want to honor him and remember him through the 5k and the scholarship. They are looking forward to the event.
Carmona is looking forward to the event, too, she told Fresh U.
"I'm not expecting to have a huge turn out, even though I really want one," she said. "The PR track at Maryland is small, so a lot of people probably haven't heard of the cause. We've been doing what we can by promoting through social media, flyering, chalking and sending out messages through our school portal but we'll see Saturday how many people come!"
All of the participants and those who are coming to show support and love for Tran and his family will be meeting at the sundial at McKeldin Mall at the university at 9:30 a.m. The race will start at 10 a.m. For tickets (which come with t-shirts), click here.
Blog writer Erica Edney spoke for all of her classmates when she wrote:
There’s a lot I don’t understand about his death, but one thing I know for certain. His life meant something. He inspired a passion in all of us, showed us that we could always do better, and did it with a humor and vibrant attitude most could not. That seat that now remains empty next to me serves as a reminder to his legacy. Vincent Tran was a leader in our classroom, and someone we will continue to strive to live up to. I believe I speak for all of us when I say Thank You Vincent. Thank you for encouraging all of us to push ourselves and for being the person to bring a smile to our faces.
Our hearts go out to Tran's friends and family and we hope for a big turnout at the run!
Lead Image Credit: Facebook