Last Sunday, a group of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial’s best friends organized a celebration service in the student union to honor her life.
Ole Miss students Hannah Chauvin, Elizabeth Brock, Claire Sigrist, Morgan Hull and Kayla Boschert put together a heartfelt event to celebrate Kostial’s life alongside the Ole Miss community.
“She meant the world to me. She was the nicest, kindest, most positive person you’d ever meet,” Brock, a senior biology major, said. “She was a light in everyone’s life.”
Kostial was a member of Alpha Phi sorority, the president of the Ole Miss Golf Club and taught yoga at the student recreation center. Her friends said they wanted to hold a service on campus to give all of the Ole Miss community a chance to celebrate her life as well.
“It was just nice to have the service, especially here at our university to honor her, because she made a big impact on campus and her involvement in the Ole Miss community,” Sigrist, a senior integrated marketing communications major, said.
The service began with Chauvin, a senior political science major, leading a yoga session the exact way Kostial would when teaching classes on campus.
“(Yoga) was a big part of her life and it made us want to do a happy celebration of her life and have something that was close to her heart,” Brock said. “These classes were where she really blossomed.”
Kostial’s friends started fundraising with the goal to raise $150,000 on GoFundMe for the dedication of the Mind and Body Studio in the South Campus Recreation Center in her name. After receiving $75,000, they transferred the money from the GoFundMe to a UM Foundation account.
They also started the Ally Kostial Mind and Body Fund to provide income to support collaborative work between Wellness Center Education and the Violence Prevention Center at the University of Mississippi.
“(Naming the Mind and Body Studio after Ally) was a huge goal of ours. The fact that was reached means the world to us and hopefully will impact people who use it for the rest of the time here,” Sigrist said.
Kostial spent her summer teaching yoga and pilates classes on campus at the student recreation center. Her time spent teaching allowed her to create bonds with many Ole Miss students, faculty and staff.
“What better way to start it off by dedicating a whole new studio to her and make sure that her memory lived on and people could celebrate her though that,” said Brock.
In the week following the service, the Associated Student Body Senate unanimously voted to pass a resolution recognizing Kostial for her ‘immense contributions to the University of Mississippi and the powerful legacy she will leave behind.’
The ASB’s resolution stated, “Kostial was an integral member of the Ole Miss student body, positively impacting countless students through her service to the University, many personal relationships, and exemplary embodiment of the Ole Miss Creed, she will be missed and remembered fondly by all members of the Ole Miss family.”
Kostial’s closest friends and family hope to see her legacy live on and continue to uplift and touch the lives of students, faculty and staff at the University of Mississippi for years to come.