Parents of five Northeastern State University freshmen who died when their car went off a bridge were on campus Tuesday to collect their children's belongings.
The victims’ families, as well as students at NSU, are still trying to cope with the loss and are struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
School leaders are making sure counseling services are available to any students who need it after the car the five students were in plummeted off a bridge in Cherokee County.
The loss of 18-year-old Donovan Caldwell, 18-year-old Jessica Swartwout, 19-year-old Drake Wells, 18-year-old Lily Murphy, and 18-year-old Rhianna Seely is overwhelming for the campus of just 8,100.
"I think it's going to be something that we feel on campus for years to come," said student body president, Colton Thompson.
Thompson said the impact of the tragedy is felt by everyone.
"Everybody on campus is feeling for them, and feeling for their families and the ones who did know them," he said.
Jacob Patrick coordinates the student orientation on campus and worked closely with the incoming freshman class. He said faculty and staff take these losses hard.
"We're grieving a little bit for their lives, and the potential of them as scholars and being in our classroom spaces," he said.
Counseling services are available for students and staff through HawkReach during the week and on call over the weekends.
Patrick said resident life staff are also there to talk to anyone struggling.
"More of counseling resources are seeing an influx of those students coming in and trying to filter through and make meaning of this experience and this time in their lives as well," he said.
Any students that would like help can contact HawkReach at 918-444-2042 or Student Affairs at 918-444-2120.