Hayley Fuchs, a 20-year-old Geneseo junior that was on a leave of absence this semester, died in her Port Washington, Long Island home on Oct. 26.
According to a campus-wide email from Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio on Nov. 2, Fuchs planned on returning to Geneseo in January. He also wrote that that services have already been completed.
Senior Katie Peterson, a friend of Fuchs, said the gathering of Fuchs' friends and loved ones to celebrate her life since her death has proved that "it is unmistakable how many hearts she touched."
Affectionately known as "Treebark," friends described Fuchs as outdoorsy and free-spirited and said she was commonly seen sporting a silly hat and an enormous smile.
Fuchs volunteered her time to a Livingston C.A.R.E.S. trip to Mississippi and a Living Lands and Waters trip dedicated to cleaning the Ohio riverbed. According to Peterson, Fuchs' giving spirit was not something that emerged only on occasion.
"Hayley reached out to nearly everyone she encountered and was genuinely interested in hearing their stories," Peterson said. "It's amazing how quickly she could ease the tension and brighten a day with her sense of humor and contagious giggle. Many people have recounted tales of her approaching homeless people, asking what type of sandwich they would like, and bringing back to them exactly what they ordered."
Fuchs was also an avid artist, painting everything from canvases to seashells to her guitar and, quite frequently, her face. She also became a familiar face at Muddy Waters' open mic night, playing guitar and surprising audiences with her stunning voice, said Peterson.
A poet and a thinker, friends said it was difficult to have a shallow conversation with Fuchs.
"It is truly rare to encounter someone who cared so deeply about the world around her," Peterson said. "Hayley will live on in the hearts of those who she loved and even those she only met in passing."
"Let's honor Hayley's memory by seeking happiness and a life worth living," added senior Katie Dana.
"Hayley will always be remembered as a girl who saw the beauty in everything," Peterson said.
"My tired heart / keeps beating," Fuchs wrote in a poem. "But it's not me / that makes it pump / it's these guys and gals / with souls of gold / who in my throat / create a hopeful lump."
Staff writer Katie Peterson and news editor Amelia Stymacks contributed reporting to this article.