Freshman remembered for smile, passion

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University of Miami freshman Eitan Samuel Stern-Robbins passed away Thursday morning.

Stern-Robbins, originally from Cambridge, Mass., lived on campus at Hecht Residential College.

According to Coral Gables police, his roommate found him dead.

The official Facebook page of Alpha Epsilon Pi at the University of Miami released the following statement shortly after the discovery: “The brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi are deeply saddened by the loss of our new member, Eitan Stern-Robbins. He was a bright young mind with a glowing future.”

Police believe the student, an 18-year-old male from Cambridge, Mass., suffered from a medical issue. According to a senior administrator at UM, the student died from an epileptic seizure.

An obituary published in the Boston Globe said, “Eitan will always be remembered for his special friendship to so many friends he touched at school and Camp Avodah.”

At UM, Stern-Robbins was a new member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

Kenny Esman, the new member educator for the fraternity, remembers Stern-Robbins as “truly a remarkable guy.”

Though Esman said he only knew Stern-Robbins for a month and a half, he said his smile was infectious.

“He’d smile and everyone around him would start laughing,” Esman said. “He was very bright and had a lot of things going for him. He was a leader; he was the first one to help out with anything any time anyone needed help.”

Esman also commented on the status of the fraternity, and discussed plans the chapter has to set up a memorial for him at the Alpha Epsilon Pi house.

“It’s been a very rough week for us,” Esman said. “He’s going to be remembered for the rest of our chapter history. We give all our new guys letters when they’re initiated … we’re going to frame his letters and put a plaque near it, or something to remember him by.”

Esman said he and the rest of the chapter believe Stern-Robbins taught them an important lesson.

“He truly taught us that you can’t take life for granted and you have to have a positive attitude,” Esman said.

Violeta Neff, a freshman at Emory University, was friends with Stern-Robbins throughout high school.

“He was part of a really tight-knit group of friends that I was lucky enough to also be a part of, and it really wouldn’t have been the same without him,” Neff said.

She said that many of their friends from high school are home in Cambridge for the funeral.

“That’s how important he was,” Neff said. “None of us would miss this for anything.”

Neff also explained how she and their friends felt about his passing.

“I never thought that anyone I know or care about could pass so soon, and now that it’s happened it’s really hard not to be afraid that everyone else in my life will, too,” she said. “… We’re going to work hard, take care of ourselves and each other, and, as cheesy as this sounds, live our lives to the fullest in his honor. He really was an amazing person and his loss will not be for nothing.”

His mother Lise Stern, his father Jeffrey Robbins, his stepmom Erika Robbins, and his siblings – Shoshanna Stern-Robbins, Gabriel Stern-Robbins, Justice McDaniel and Zane McDaniel – survive Stern-Robbins.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Epilepsy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, in memory of Eitan Samuel Stern-Robbins. Contributions can be made online at childrenshospital.org/giving or checks made payable to Boston Children’s Hospital can be mailed to Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, 401 Park Drive, Suite 602, Boston, Mass., 02215. For more information on Levine Chapels, Brookline, call 617-277-8300 or visit levinechapel.com.

According to Esman, a memorial service will most likely take place next weekend. More details will follow when they become available.

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