Sophia Visent was the type of friend who showed up on your doorstep unannounced to make you a surprise breakfast after your bad week.
Just ask Sara Hoffen, Visent’s friend. Visent raided her fridge to make pancakes and croissants.
“I had that food for days,” said Hoffen, a 22-year-old UF international business master’s student.
Visent, an Uruguayan first-generation UF environmental management senior, liked to tell people how she got her car, a gray 2012 Chevrolet Spark. She worked at a store that sold airplane parts to pay off her car completely.
“She was so proud of herself for being independent,” Hoffen said.
Visent’s friends remember her for her kindness, laughter and authenticity after she died by suicide on Wednesday in Miami at 22 years old, said Visent’s best friend, Aimee Wasserman, a UF philosophy senior.
Wasserman, 22, and several of Visent’s friends will hold a vigil for her at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the Plaza of the Americas.
They will share stories about Visent and write notes to send to her family in Miami.
Wasserman met Visent through the UF Hispanic Student Association’s Member Leadership Program.
Wasserman said Visent made a sweet first impression on her. The two became close when they watched episodes of “Jane the Virgin” together in the Beaty Towers common room their sophomore year.
When they were together, they enjoyed going to Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar to sing along with “Vivir Mi Vida” by Marc Anthony or going to Latin Night at Felipe’s to dance cumbia.
When they weren’t together, Wasserman said Visent would tag her in memes on the Swampy UF memes for top ten public teens Facebook group.
Stephanie Duno, a 21-year-old UF animal science senior, who met Visent through the Member Leadership Program, said Visent was the type of person who you would go out of your way to see if you spotted her across campus.
Duno said Visent was honest about her mental health with others, Duno said.
Duno, who also struggles with mental health, said they would discuss resources and getting help. She said their Hispanic backgrounds placed a stigma around mental illness.
“She was suffering,” Duno said. “She really tried to look for the good in things.”
Duno said she thinks UF didn’t do enough to help Visent. Visent tried to go to the Counseling and Wellness Center but was stopped by issues with insurance or availability of counselors.
“Sophia’s dying has to be the reason that maybe UF contemplates actually looking at this,” Duno said.
The UF Dean of Students Heather White declined to comment for this story and directed The Alligator to UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
“Students who may find they need help and support, especially as the end of the semester and finals are approaching, have a number of resources available through Student Affairs, including U Matter, We Care, GatorWell and the Counseling and Wellness Center,” Orlando said.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Visent’s sister’s boyfriend, Chris Burgos. The page is asking for $15,000 to pay for her funeral expenses. As of Sunday night, the page raised more than $4,500.
No one from Visent’s family could immediately be reached comment.
Hoffen said she wants Visent’s legacy to be her hopes, dreams and plans.
Visent wanted to graduate. She hoped to walk across the stage in May 2020.
Duno said she and Visent’s friends would like to get an honorary degree for Visent.
“I promise that I will live for both of us now,” Duno said.
Sophia Visent, a 22-year-old UF environmental management senior, died by suicide last week. Her friends will hold a vigil to remember her 9 p.m. Wednesday on the Plaza of the Americas. A GoFundMe page is raising money for funeral expenses.