MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — College students in Northfield are coming together to support a neighboring school.

After learning of the death of a student at St. Olaf last week, Carleton students filled every mailbox at St. Olaf with a flower as a way to show solidarity.

“It was an absolutely incredible gesture that we experienced from Carleton,” said junior John Bruer.

It’s a tradition they never hoped to start.

“They put 3,200 flowers in our mailboxes, so on Wednesday morning when we got back from fall break there were two flowers in every mailbox,” said Rachel Palermo, student government association president.

Attached to each flower was a hand-written note to show students at St. Olaf their friends at Carleton were thinking of them.

“Seeing all the flowers really showed the solidarity that we have between our campuses. A lot of times people will call Carleton and St. Olaf rivals, but when it comes down to it, we care a lot about each other,” Palermo said.

In February, when three Carleton students died in a car accident on their way to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, St. Olaf students put flowers in their mailboxes.

“The breath of support was really incredible, it was also that student-to-student connection that really made a difference,” said Becca Giles, student association president.

Giles coordinated Carleton’s response to St. Olaf.

“It just felt right, it felt natural to respond in the same way that they did for us. The idea that we’re filling their mailboxes with love and support in this really troubling and trying time,” Giles said.

Both campuses have something called “Friday Flowers,” where you can buy a flower for a friend’s mailbox. The colleges plan to continue that tradition, but hope this tradition — tied to tragedy — ends.

Jennifer Mayerle