IU law student Purva Sethi died Feb. 8 after being struck by an SUV in Bloomington as she crossed Third Street to go south on Washington Street, four blocks away from campus. She was 25.
Originally from India, Sethi came to the United States in 2018 to study law. She wanted to be a clerk for a judge and work for a judicial system after graduation. She was set to graduate in May and had accepted her dream job in December. She completed her undergraduate degree at O.P. Jindal Global University-Sonipat, located in the Indian state of Haryana.
After she passed, people took to Facebook to share positive memories.
“She always showed how much friendships meant to her, setting an example for all of us to live by,” wrote Vilasini Venkatesh, a childhood friend of Sethi.
In a Feb. 10 post on the International Students Association at Maurer School of Law Facebook page, she was described as more than a board member. She was a friend to everyone.
“I am thankful to ISA board for bringing us together and glad I met you and was able to experience your kind soul, your tenacity and thoughtful conversations,” Mudia Edosomwan, a friend from the law school, wrote on her own Facebook page.
Friends and family told the Indiana Daily Student she will be remembered as a kind-hearted and compassionate person who put others before herself.
Siyu Li, a friend of Sethi, said although she was soft and kind, she was also strong.
“Her first priority was to make others around her comfortable,” Li said. “She wanted others to be happy above her own happiness.”
She said Sethi had multiple facets to her personality. She was fierce and passionate while also professional and dedicated to her academics.
Li said during a public memorial for Sethi, Sethi’s fiance Jordan Saner shared their last text message conversation, which was about Sethi giving a woman experiencing homelessness donuts for breakfast at a bus station.
“I think that really shows how she was as a person,” Li said.
Vikas Broka, Sethi’s uncle, attested to her selflessness as he spoke of Sethi’s work in retirement and geriatric communities.
“In India, she used to have a very important agenda,” Broka said. “Every birthday or special day of her life she used to spend at old-age homes.”
Broka said the next 20 years will be very hard on Sethi's family, as no parent should experience the pain of their child dying. He said that is the toughest thing to bear.
Charles Gardner Geyh, a professor at the Maurer School of Law, met Sethi last fall during his seminar teaching judicial conduct. He said although they only discussed classwork, he spent lots of time talking with her about the course subject and her interest in working with judges.
Geyh also said Sethi faced many challenges while studying at IU and trying to find jobs in the United States.
“There’s no denying that she was not a U.S. citizen," Geyh said. "She was an immigrant, she was South Asian, she was a woman. All those served as impediments for her getting from point A to point B.”
But Geyh said that none of these roadblocks stopped Sethi in the pursuit of her passions. Because she was not a U.S. citizen, many jobs were not available to her, but Geyh said she was determined to not let that stop her.
Around a month before she died, Sethi landed a post-graduate job working for the Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Although Geyh said she will be remembered for her kindness and decency to others, he said what will be most remembered is her strength, determination and grit.
“She was not someone that would let something get in the way of her goals,” he said. “She does have a legacy: a way of looking at the world today and not being deterred by the barriers.”
She is survived by her fiance, mother, father and younger brother.