Students, faculty, staff and guests gathered at the Rock Thursday afternoon to honor the life of Avantika Khatri, a Weinberg junior who recently passed away. The event, hosted by the Khatri family and ASG, provided a space for people to mourn and celebrate her life. Family and friends took turns speaking about how Khatri impacted their lives.
Many spoke of Khatri's humor and wit, as well as her passion for adventure. Khatri was especially known for her caring nature and selflessness.
Weinberg junior Maroua Sallami remembers when she and Khatri were both on Shepard Residential College's executive board sophomore year, Khatri would write the names of all the freshmen in her phone and would also write where she left her conversations off with them.
"She would pick up the conversation where she left off just so she can show them that there's actually someone that cares about them at Northwestern," Sallami said. "I hope all of us here has a person like that and are a person like that."
In spite of the cold weather, about 140 people attended the community gathering. As the event went on, passersby came and joined the gathering.
"I think what I get from her is to be curious and try to experience everything," said McCormick junior Stephanie Kuyah. According to Kuyah, Khatri would always try to get her friends to go to football or basketball games. Khatri was also known for always knowing what was going on in campus or in Chicago.
Family and friends also noted Khatri's passion for adventure and curiosity.
"The same way one might go to a new country or new place and be so excited about the new things that one gets to experience, that same passion and same enthusiasm was the way she lived her whole life with everything," said her older brother, Aaditya Khatri. "Those are the kinds of people we really need in society and in our lives that keep us going."
One thing everyone mentioned was how Khatri impacted many communities on campus and how each community would miss her, from Shepard where she formerly served as the Eco Rep to Medill which she recently transferred from. One volunteer organizer shared to the group Khatri's volunteerism in Chicago, talking about how she helped those in poverty and supported people in need.
Khatri not only helped with her community, but also inspired everyone around her. Avantika's father, Naresh Khatri, remembers how he and Avantika went to see the Lego Movie and how he thought his daughter made everything awesome.
"I would want to do something awesome in her memory," he said.
The speakers also emphasized the need for self-care and the need to support one another.
"For everyone of you here, make sure that you appreciate everyone in your lives and tell your friends you love them cause you never know when it will be gone," Kuyah said.
Khatri's family expressed gratitude for everyone who came to the event. The family also praised the Northwestern community, saying they were grateful that Khatri got to have so many great friends.
Following the speakers was a moment for silence.
Khatri died Monday afternoon in her off-campus residence, and the cause of her death is currently unknown.