Freshman dies in RSA snow tubing accident

By Brian Benson

Freshman communications major Adrienne Devino died Saturday night after a snow tubing accident at the Resident Student Association’s (RSA) annual internal conference at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H.

Devino, who was one of two RSA public relations officers, lost control of her tube on Little Sister Trail at about 8:30 p.m. and hit a tree, suffering injuries to her chest, torso and side, said university Director of Communications Fred McGrail.

Devino was taken to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, N.H., where she died about an hour after the accident, said Loon spokesperson Stacy Lopes.

“It was one of those freak accidents you don’t see coming and there’s no way to prevent,” said RSA President Darren Conine.

Members of RSA were the first to reach Devino and notified Loon Mountain ski patrol.

RSA Alumni Affairs Coordinator Josh Minney said he and many others were shocked when they heard of the accident.

“None of us could believe something so simple could go so horribly wrong,” said Minney, a sophomore psychology major, who was at the bottom of the slope when the crash occurred.

Conine said while three people witnessed the accident, he was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

“I wanted to make sure she was OK and was looked after once the EMTs arrived,” he said. “Her safety and health was of utmost importance.”

Conine said most of those attending the conference were at the bottom of the mountain when the collision occurred. However, RSA vice president for programming Smith Anderson gave Devino CPR until ambulances arrived.

“When Smith gave her CPR, it was probably very difficult for them,” Conine said, adding Anderson had previous CPR training. Anderson and Conine followed the ambulance to the hospital in their car.

Minney said a variety of emotions filled the group while the events were unfolding.

“At first there was a lot of confusion,” he said. “Then, there was a lot of support – we were all hoping for the best. People were forming prayer groups and making cards.”

Because the accident occurred near the end of RSA’s conference, Conine said there was little revision to the schedule. The conference was designed to facilitate transition to the recently elected executive board through ice-breakers and programming sessions.

“We just got up [Sunday] morning and left after breakfast for Northeastern,” Conine said, adding they did cancel a morning awards ceremony.

Once the group of 50 returned to Northeastern, they were met by University Heath and Counseling Services staff, Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier and Director of Residential Life Bob Jose.

“They were just offering their service in counseling, planning memorial events and trips to the funeral,” Minney said.

Liz Cilia, a junior criminal justice major and member of RSA, said many people have used the available services.

Looking toward the future, Minney said the tragedy has brought the group closer together.

“I don’t see how it could deter anyone [from participating in RSA],” Minney said. “It brought us a lot closer together.”

Cilia said the accident showed the strength of the new e-board.

“It proved how well a lot of them could perform under pressure,” she said. “We have a really strong e-board going forward.”

Wednesday’s RSA meeting will take place, though scheduled elections for RA Council Representative, Student Government Association Representative and Alumni Affairs Coordinator will not be held. Instead, students will have a forum to talk with the RSA board and reflect on Devino.

“They’re not as important since they’re just for officials [and not executive board positions],” Conine said of the postponed elections. “It’s much more important to let people speak about her.”

President Joseph Aoun issued a statement to faculty and students Monday expressing his sympathy for Devino’s friends and family.

“A tragic accident which suddenly and without warning takes the life of a vibrant young person causes incomprehensible sadness,” the letter said. “I urge members of the community to support one another during this difficult time.”

The letter said counseling is available at University Health and Counseling Services (ext. 2772) for all students, faculty and staff and members of the Spiritual Life staff are also available at ext. 2728.

– News staff writers Derek Hawkins and Jessica Torrez-Riley contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply