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Rice Student Struck by METRO Light Rail Memorialized in Noon Vigil Today

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A noontime vigil today at the spot where 20-year-old Rice architecture student Vivian Ziwei Guan was killed by a METRO train Monday attracted between 30 and 40 students, professors and architecture professionals. (Update: even more arrived later.)

As people assembled, arriving either by light rail or walking up to the site, they stood close by the collection of flowers and candles placed at the site near Walker and Main where Guan had been struck as she crossed the street after getting off a northbound train on her way to her job at Ziegler Cooper Architects.

Apparently tone deaf to the moment, which consisted of people talking quietly among themselves, while some students cried, a METRO traffic cop felt compelled to yell at them to step out of the way of others getting off the train. No one argued with her, just shuffled into a even tighter little group.

Rice professor Jacki Schaefer said it was especially difficult for the students since only 24 students are admitted to the Rice School of Architecture each year. "This has a larger impact than it would at a bigger school," she said.

Schaefer said Guan's parents have come in from New Zealand. She described their daughter as "vibrant" and ambitious, explaining Guan was able to get the job with Ziegler Cooper in part because of her persistence.

Professor Danny Samuels, who said, "I was Vivian's first-year teacher in architecture," said because it is summer, most Rice students are still gone. He said he expects there will be another memorial after school starts, perhaps in conjunction with the Houston Area Cyclists group.

A funeral service was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at the Rice Chapel. Guan would have started her junior year at Rice in just a few weeks.

Check page 2 for more photos from the vigil.

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