Students, alumni and friends of 2012 Engineering graduate Justin Broglie, who committed suicide on April 7, remembered him at an event on Sunday afternoon on College Green.
The event Dancing in Public with Strangers follows a Thursday memorial for Broglie at the Christian Association at Penn. A formal memorial for Broglie will be held on May 3 in the Terrace Room of Claudia Cohen Hall, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Dancing in Public with Strangers was inspired by a video of the same name, made in March 2013 by Broglie and 2012 College graduate Jerry Liu. Broglie had the idea to go to Independence Hall, start dancing and encourage people passing by to join him. Liu, who met Broglie in their freshman year dorm, joined in and videotaped the event.
Last week, 2013 Engineering graduate Jonathan Leung, who knew Broglie, saw the video. He contacted Liu to see if another one could be made to remember Broglie. The video “was a positive influence on all of us,” Liu said.
This lighthearted event celebrated Broglie’s personality and life. Students and adults smiled as they walked by, danced for the video and talked to the participants. Since there was no music to dance to, two or three attendees found empty bottles and started playing a rhythm on nearby trashcans.
Engineering senior Laura MacKinnon and College freshman Tara Rajagopal met Broglie through their work with the Penn Consciousness Club, which focuses on self-awareness and inner spirituality. The group also provided an outlet for students to talk about their troubles. Rajagopal said that Broglie sometimes would talk about problems in his life with group members.
MacKinnon carried the club forward after Broglie’s graduation, helping organize meditation workshops and other self-enlightenment events.
“Justin was one of the most alive people that I know,” MacKinnon said. “We’re dancing here today because he loved to dance.”
Rajagopal met Broglie through the Art of Living Foundation, which helped the Penn Consciousness Club organize workshops, such as the Your Enlightened Side — YES!+ — series. She contacted Broglie and MacKinnon when she came to Penn and joined the Consciousness Club. Rajagopal described Broglie as amazing. “Everything he [said] and [did came] from the depth of his being,” she said.
Aardra Rajendran, a College and Engineering sophomore, attended the YES!+ workshop that Broglie organized last September. She looks forward to continuing Broglie’s legacy through the club he started.
Liu plans to edit and put together his video within the next two days. It will be on YouTube through his account, JerryLiuFilms, where the original video can be found.
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