By Viola Brown
On June 5 at 4:00 p.m., a ceremony dedicated to Emily Stillman will take place to dedicate a lamppost in her honor. Stillman was a sophomore at K when she died from bacterial meningitis in 2013. Stillman’s family will be in attendance and everyone is advised to wear pink and/or purple, which were Stillman’s favorite colors.
“I am so elated the College is finally dedicating a tangible space for her on campus. Last year, my friends and I tried getting a bench outside of Trowbridge Residence Hall dedicated to her, but that never came to fruition,” said Skylar Young ’15, incoming Secretary of Communications for the 2014-2015 Student Commission and a good friend of Stillman.
After Stillman’s death, her family started the Stillman Foundation, which hopes to raise awareness about meningococcal disease and the vaccination of the different strains of meningitis, as well as organ donation. The foundation also actively works with Michigan Gift of Life.
Recently, the foundation made a historic accomplishment by busing people from the United States to Canada to get vaccinated against all strains of meningitis, especially the strain B that Stillman had, which isn’t covered in the US.
“Apart from making sure all of my family has been covered by meningitis vaccine…my greatest effort has been working with and raising awareness about Emily Stillman at Kalamazoo College,” Young said. “I was the liaison for the Michigan Gift of Life campus-wide challenge in which Kalamazoo competed against other colleges in Michigan to raise awareness about organ donation by getting people to sign up to become organ donators.”
Young reported that Kalamazoo College came in second for the challenge and that next year she is “absolutely determined to get first place.”
“I have been in consultation with Lisa Ailstock, Director of Health Services in raising awareness about meningitis,” Young said.
Skylar calls “Stills”, her nickname for Stillman, one of her best friends and someone that she genuinely clicked with instantly.
“We are so different and yet so similar. We lived in Crissey basement last year with Mindy, Bryan, and Jared, and it was so much fun,” Young said. “There are no adjectives that can describe her, no words that can express the beautiful human being she was inside or out. She always made me laugh, and made me feel better.”
“Emily has the biggest heart, the best laugh, and is the person I continue to turn to when I need guidance and perspective. She is all around me, and the people she touched throughout her life. Her death has affected me in both expected and unexpected ways,” Young concluded.