A year ago this month, sophomore Rachel DiPietro-James was anxiously awaiting her return to Argentina to study abroad for the semester when she was killed in an car accident several months before her trip.
Now, her friends at IU have decided to host a benefit concert to raise money for a memorial tree and a scholarship in her name.
Junior Krista Lepore and her friend, Bloomington resident Cecily Dibble, both of whom attended high school with DiPietro-James, teamed up to organize a concert called
“Rock on Rach” from 7 to 11 p.m. today at Rachael’s Cafe. Donations for a tree, plaque and scholarship in DiPietro-James’ honor will be accepted at the door.
There will be live music at the event in addition to available food and beverages.
“We wanted to have something that would entertain people and bring people together so we can celebrate her life,” Lepore said.
Several bands and artists who knew DiPietro-James have agreed to play at the concert, including Elephant Quiz, The Lower Cascades, Mermaid on a Mountaintop, Alex Arnold and Michael McGinnis.
“They all went to high school with Rachel, they were friends of hers,” Dibble said.
Of the money raised, the initial $500 will be used to buy a plaque and a tree to plant somewhere on campus.
“A tree was a good idea because Rachel really appreciated the natural, beautiful things,” Dibble said. “There are a lot of people on campus who knew her and miss her, and it would bring smiles to a lot of faces.”
The additional money raised will go toward a scholarship in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in DiPietro-James’ name. The scholarship is currently funded by the Council on International Educational Exchange study abroad program, supporting a program in Buenos Aires.
In addition to this benefit concert, DiPietro-James’ older brothers have organized marathons in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Seattle for their sister. The proceeds will also go toward the DiPietro-James scholarship.
“The department would like to try and raise enough money so that the scholarship will continue in perpetuity,” said Catherine Larson, Department of Spanish and Portuguese chairwoman. “The scholarship is for any student accepted to the CIEE program in Argentina.”