The morning after Wednesday’s campus shooting, UCLA alumnus Justin Renge drove to campus with a bag of 50 envelopes. Each envelop contained anonymous notes and money, which he distributed to random locations across the campus.
Renge, who graduated from UCLA in spring 2015, said he was off campus at a local gym when he saw the live news coverage of the shooting.
“My heart dropped,” Renge said. “You hear about stuff like this happening from time to time, but you don’t imagine it could happen at a place like UCLA.”
After the lockdown was lifted and he confirmed his friends at UCLA were safe, he thought of a way to cheer students up.
The night of the shooting, Renge divided $75 between 50 hand-addressed, multi-colored envelopes, which read, “Good luck on finals!”
“Good luck on finals! Your next snack/drink is from a recent UCLA alumni who watched in horror as Wednesday’s tragedy occurred,” the note read. “I hope that you will eventually pay it forward, and remember that we as Bruins are all one family and stand united together!”
Renge, who is studying law at Southwestern Law School, said he could not attend the candlelight vigil Thursday night because he had class, so he wanted to give back in a different way.
Renge said he initially passed the notes out on Bruin Walk, but decided to leave them in various locations around campus instead. The notes can be found on desks of the Powell and Charles E. Young Research libraries, in residence hall common areas and in the trays of vending machines.
Though he did not know what atmosphere to expect when he drove to campus Thursday morning, he was pleasantly surprised to find students taking graduation pictures.
“(Seeing students happy) made me realize that as a community, we are really strong,” Renge said.
Six people have already reached out to Renge on Facebook to thank him for leaving the notes. Renge said the students told him he made their day.
“As Bruins, we’re all one family,” he said. “Even though I graduated, I’m still a Bruin.”