WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue is a campus in mourning. Hundreds have come together since a student was killed in his dorm room early Wednesday morning.
Notes and flowers covered the Unfinished Block P on the Purdue campus. It’s all for Varun Chheda, the student killed in McCutcheon Hall on Wednesday.
”I think everybody is still trying to grasp everything that has happened,” said Andrew Mayes, a Purdue senior.
Mayes stopped by the Unfinished Block P Thursday to write a note to Varun.
”A note saying we’re not going to forget about him, that we love him,” Mayes said.
Throughout the day, students gathered around the memorial. A vigil was held in the same spot Wednesday night, and the notes and flowers for Varun have only grown. Some of the students cried, some comforted strangers, and others bowed their heads in prayer.
”I think at the end of the day it shows that we’re all one, we’re all united,” Mayes said.
A cup of pens and more paper sat at the base of the Unfinished Block P, waiting for more Boilermakers to leave notes.
One note said, “You were so loved and will continue to be loved.”
Another said Varun was “amazing as a lab partner and overall as a human being”
Across campus, it’s been difficult for everyone, whether they knew Varun or not.
”Some professors have cancelled classes, there have been moments of silence in the classes I’ve gone to,” said sophomore Arnav Arstogi.
We spoke to Varun’s family, but they did not wish to talk right now.
In his obituary, Varun is described as a champion to his little sister, the pride of his grandparents and a son that made his parents blessed.
Varun loved the sciences, was a National Merit Scholarship Award winner and a national runner up in the Science Bowl in 2016. We spoke with two of Varun’s friends at the Unfinished Block P Thursday; they echoed what others have said about how kind and smart Varun was and how competitive he was in the Science Bow. Just as one of Varun’s friends, Andrew Wu, told us Wednesday.
”He was the smartest kid I ever met in Science Bowl,” Wu said. “Any subject, you know, geography, geology, math, chemistry, physics, like he knew it all.”
Varun’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Riley Children’s Foundation.
Students at Purdue said the memorial at the Unfinished Block P will continue to grow, as others leave messages for a Boilermaker taken too soon.
”The Purdue family stands with him, and hopefully he gets that message from us,” Mayes said.