Vigil for Jeffny Pally celebrates life of respected student, friend

Hundreds of students gathered at Fairfield Way on Tuesday, October 18, in remembrance of Jeffny Pally, a sophomore allied health major who passed away over the weekend. (Akshara Thejaswi/The Daily Campus)

Students at the University of Connecticut celebrated the life of Jeffny Pally at a vigil in her memory on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Pally, 19, was a sophomore at UConn. She passed away Sunday after being hit by a UConn Fire Department vehicle.  

On a breezy evening, members of the UConn community, as well as Pally’s friends and family, gathered on Fairfield Way near the Student Union. The crowd frequently shifted to the right, as the space continued to fill up.

Those in attendance received candles to light later on during the vigil, and were thanked for coming to show solidarity in a difficult time.

A prayer was offered prior to the lighting of candles underneath a photo of Pally on the mainstage.

After a moment of silence, members of Pally’s family came to the main stage and thanked those in attendance for coming, then spoke about her devotion to and love for her parents, siblings, grandma, aunts and cousins. She was admired for keeping in touch with her aunts though they lived in different parts of the country than them, as well as presenting herself as a leader for her younger cousins.  

Her mother described Pally as someone who always made time for her friends, no matter how much coursework she had, and who deeply desired to help others by becoming a nurse.

Pally’s friends then took to the stage to thank her for constantly motivating them to try new things and never failing to have a smile on her face. They praised her selflessness and ability to make others feel included, whether she knew them well or not.

As her family and friends shared personal stories about Pally, tears and hugs spread through the crowd.

The immensity of the loss of Pally on her family, friends and the UConn community was expressed by their words and the large number of people present at the vigil; and a note of hope resonated from those in attendance passing candlelight through the crowd toward the end of the vigil.

Pally’s parents lit their candles first, followed by her friends, then members of the UConn community. A Hail Mary prayer concluded the vigil.

The vigil was organized by the Indian Students Association, Delta Epsilon Psi and Delta Gamma.

Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at