Otago University students, staff clean up Dunedin street in memory of Sophia Crestani

Hundreds of Otago University students and staff have rallied together to clean up North Dunedin's flatting area in memory of Sophia Crestani, at the request of her grieving parents.

"Sophia was an incredibly valued member of our student community," says University of Otago Vice Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne. 

"This clean up is being conducted at the suggestion of her family, who thought this was an outstanding way to make our student neighbourhood even better." 

The 19-year-old student was killed as hundreds of people attempted to leave an overcrowded Dundas Street house party on Saturday, October 5.

On Sunday, around 2500 of Sophia's peers were armed with brooms, bags and a desire to honour her memory.

"I've heard it was the parents' wish for all the students to get out and clean Castle Street, so we are all having a break from study to get out here and do that for the parents," one student explained.

At least 100 council staff have also volunteered, Dunedin's new Mayor, Aaron Hawkins, among them. 

"I'm really proud of our staff for rallying at such short notice... we've brought in additional street sweepers and kerbside recycling collection, and staff will be out over the course of the day," he says.

Many students were happy to put down the books for a few hours, with university exams approaching.

"[It's a] very important cause so we are happy to be doing it," said a participating student.

"I think it's just a sign of respect for Sophia and the community we live in, it's just a pretty cool thing to do," said another.

Students and staff cleaning up the streets, banding together in grief.


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