Slain student’s essay becomes video


BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – An environmentalist credo written by a University of Vermont student two days before she was abducted and killed has blossomed into a video presented at this month’s “Live Earth” concert and a hit on YouTube.

Singer Sheryl Crow, actress Meg Ryan, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and other celebrity women, each dressed in white against a black backdrop, are pictured holding a portrait of Michele Gardner-Quinn and reciting parts of her essay.

Gardner-Quinn, 21, an environmental studies major from Arlington, Va., wrote the one-page essay for a class two days before she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed. Brian Rooney, 37, formerly of Richmond, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges and is awaiting trial.

After Gardner-Quinn’s death, her essay was read as a eulogy at her funeral and published in a campus magazine. It was brought to the attention of the producers of the Live Earth concerts, a series of simultaneous events on each continent designed to raise awareness about climate change, by a UVM student who is the son of the events’ producers.

The video had received more than 2,500 hits on the video Web site YouTube as of Wednesday. It begins with actress Goldie Hawn reciting Gardner-Quinn’s opening words: “I believe in upholding reverence for all life.”

Ferguson follows: “I believe that humanity has a responsibility to the earth and to the life that we share our experiences with.”

Actresses Kate Hudson and Emily Procter read parts of the essay in the one-minute video, as does Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore, the former vice president and organizer of the Live Earth events.

The video concludes with the only words not written by the slain student. Her mother, Diane, says, “And I believe that my daughter can still change the world.”

AP-ES-07-19-07 0946EDT