Friends hold vigil, remember GVSU student found dead

Posted at 5:53 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 05:53:23-05

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Students at Grand Valley State University are grieving the loss of a fellow Laker. A candlelight vigil was held on campus near the clock tower to honor the life of Taylor DeRosa.

DeRosa's body was discovered December 12 by someone jogging in the area. The investigation into her death is ongoing with police releasing few details about what happened to the freshman from Royal Oak.

Hundreds of students, both those who knew DeRosa and those who did not, came out to pay respects to the young woman, who was considered a fierce advocate for issues she felt passionate about. She also set out to help others she met, even serving as a camp counselor for several years.

"Taylor had such a spirit that she made an impact on everybody that met her," said McKenna Speed, a longtime friend who served as a camp counselor with Derosa. "She was actually the first person that I noticed in the cabin because she was the type of person that lit up every room that she was in. And her smile was so wide and genuine that she drew attention and she definitely made everybody around her smile."

A large group of DeRosa's camp friends came to the vigil from schools and areas all across Michigan.

"Taylor certainly did not deserve this. There was no part of her life that was in any way negative. She was positive in every single regard. So I think it’s been hard to grasp the concept of it could happen to her," said Speed.

Student who did not know DeRosa came out not only to support friends and family but to show a unified community on campus.

"I may have known Taylor but if something were to happen to me, I would hope people would come out for me and show us support for our loved ones and our family. And our random acts of kindness would mean a lot," said Kiley Whetter, a nursing student.

If you would like to donate to DeRosa's family, you can do so through a GoFundMe page made on her behalf. You can donate HERE.

The university says there are additional counseling resources to those affected by the loss of DeRosa's life.