Students remember sophomore known for cheerful outlook, positivity

Jessica Hauffe came to Syracuse University from the other side of the country.

But while the San Jose, Calif. native was attending SU, her friends say she brought some of the California sunshine with her.

“She was a really fun-loving individual who made everyone smile,” said Ruo Chen, a sophomore architecture student and friend of Hauffe. “She made the mood better and was one of those people you always wanted to have around because she was so bright. Her presence was so noticeable.”

Hauffe, a sophomore studying architecture at SU, died Thursday in Syracuse after a brief illness.

Chen met Hauffe during the first semester of their freshman year in an introductory architecture class. Chen said the two ended up in the same discussion groups following a lecture, and rather than discussing the class readings, the group got to know each other.

Chen also had a class with Hauffe during their second semester on campus, and Chen said Hauffe kept a positive attitude during an otherwise stressful class.

“She was always smiling and telling jokes,” Chen said.

Chen added that sometimes she would become stressed out in her studies, but Hauffe would remain calm and keep a level head.

Architecture students take studio classes where they work on projects each semester. During Hauffe’s freshman year studio class, she became friends with Taylor Hagan, also a sophomore studying architecture.

Hagan said she and Hauffe also had been in the same peer-advising group, which is where she initially met Hauffe. However, the two got to know each other better within the environment of their studio class.

“I just remember in that studio everyone became really close and it was kind of like a second family,” Hagan said.

Professor Bruce Abbey taught that class. He said he remembered Hauffe as “being talented and eager to learn,” and called her “an ideal student.”

In addition to being cheerful and able to laugh during stressful times, Hagan said Hauffe was always willing to reach out to friends and see how they were doing.

Hagan lived in Day Hall during her freshman year, while Hauffe lived in Flint Hall. She said Hauffe would randomly text her and the two would hang out when they were bored.

One time in particular during freshman year, the two were together late at night the evening before a final review the next day in studio. Hagan said they were both freaking out about it, but they ended up finding a way to relax together.

“We just ended up running through the Quad that night and it was kind of ridiculous but it was me and her and we did like a lap around the Quad to relieve stress,” Hagan said. “It was just a little moment that happened that I remember with her.”

Chen remembered a different instance at the beginning of a semester when the campus was mostly empty. Chen said she and Hauffe were planning on going to the mall but instead spent time walking around places on campus they didn’t know about.

“I don’t really get out much once school starts so that was fun seeing her in a different setting other than studio,” Chen said.

Timothy Stenson, chair of undergraduate programs in the School of Architecture, said he did not know Hauffe personally, but knew of her through other people.

Stenson said Hauffe had a reputation as a nice, engaged student. He added that Hauffe volunteered within the school, mentoring incoming freshmen.

“People liked her very much,” he said.

In addition, Stenson said the School of Architecture is a tight-knit community, and that each class is a pretty cohesive group. He said he believes Hauffe’s death “really hit her classmates full force.”

Stenson added that he reacted like others, saying he was surprised and sad to hear that Hauffe had passed away.

With the School of Architecture forming such a close community of students and staff, many reacted with shock and sadness. Hauffe’s friend Hagan said she will keep holding onto the fond memories she had with Hauffe.

“I’ll always remember her in a very special way,” Hagan said. “She meant a lot to all of us.”


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