Sylvia Bingham ’09, a Yale graduate who was passionate about social justice and the environment, passed away Tuesday morning after her bicycle collided with a truck. She was 22.

Bingham, who just moved to Cleveland for a job at organization that helps impoverished women, was a vivacious and dedicated woman – an inspiration to all who crossed paths with her. Effervescent, vivacious, and compassionate, Bingham lived her ideals, striving to improve the world while always taking the time to care for her friendships.

With this sudden and tragic death, Yale students and professors shared memories of Bingham:

“Sylvia was great friend to all who knew her. She was kind, caring, and possessed one of those personalities that constantly welcomed you in. She was a phenomenal and instinctual (the best kind) cook, and loved to make food for her friends. She seemed to just know what to do with food. She rarely looked at recipes, but rather learned as she went, adding a touch of this, a touch of that, and always coming up with something spectacular.”

— Tommy Crawford ’09

“She had this unbelievable elegance and beauty, both inside and outside, that she never seemed to know the power of, but which attracted so many people to her. Having known her in a very close capacity over the past year, I had the amazing fortune to get to know her- yet throughout the year, she never stopped surprising me.”

— Rebecca Levenson ’09

“Sylvia would often lament (like many Yalies) that she was unsure what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. However, for those that knew her well, this uncertainty was never even the slightest cause for concern. Because, while it might not have been clear to us what exactly Sylvia would do, her generosity and drive made it abundantly clear that the work she ultimately undertook would serve to make the world a distinctly better place. This promise, like the rest of Sylvia Bingham, will be deeply, deeply missed.”

— Josh Helmrich ’09

“Sylvia was a devoted friend with a profound sense of social justice. She was sharp and true to her convictions, yet always open minded and gentle. Style and class infused her writing, her remarkable grasp of design, and her interactions with friends and strangers. Sylvia was destined to do wonderful and necessary things for this world. It is everyone’s loss that she is no longer here.”

— Alex Kain ’09

“Sylvia Chantal Bingham was one of the most kind-hearted, intelligent and beautiful people I have ever had the opportunity to know. I always admired Sylvia’s strong ideals and the way that she dedicated herself to them fully.”

— Lucia Diaz-Martin ’09

“In the wake of such a senseless event–senseless both because it should never have happened and because I cannot understand it–I keep thinking about three lines from Mark Strand’s poem ‘Black Sea’:

‘The nearness, the momentary warmth of you…

Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all

that the world offers would you come only because I was here?’ “

— Adam Gardner ’09