As she sat inside her still-unopened pizza parlor, Lisa Hilo heard police sirens racing toward campus. Suddenly, the lively West Campus community she loved was silent from the fear and chaos of Monday’s on-campus stabbing.
“It was eerie,” Hilo said. “It was really awful. There was just a lifelessness — like the city, the whole community, was mourning on that day.”
The stabbing, which occurred at the intersection of 21st Street and Speedway, left three injured and one — undergraduate studies freshman Harrison Brown — dead on the scene.
Hilo’s restaurant, Pizza Press, sits on 26th Street, situated between a 7-11 and the Grand Marc apartment complex. For the parlor’s opening weekend, Hilo is donating all the restaurant’s profit — up to $3,000 — to the Harrison Brown Memorial Fund.
A Round Rock resident, Hilo said she chose West Campus as the home for her new restaurant because of its vibrant atmosphere. But Monday, as she sat in a booth of her soon-to-be-opened restaurant and heard turmoil unfold around her, she said she instantly knew she had to help.
“As a mom, to hear of something so sudden and so unforeseen — it was heart wrenching,” Hilo said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
After reaching out to Hendrick Liaw, the business freshman who started the memorial GoFundMe, Hilo said she was asked to host a post-vigil reception Wednesday for the families of the stabbing victims. However, Hilo said she still felt like she needed to do more, so she decided to hold the fundraiser in conjunction with Pizza Press’ grand opening.
Marketing junior Jessica Wilczek said she heard about the fundraiser on Facebook, and she thought it was extremely generous of them.
“I think it’s really genuine,” Wilczek said. “Obviously if they were giving free pizzas away, they’re going to be making a ton of money their opening weekend, but to forgo that and donate all of (the profits) really says something, and I think everybody appreciates it.”
Liz Schasel, Plan II and marketing junior, said she didn’t know about the fundraiser when she decided to go to Pizza Press, but she said it was a good way to break into West Campus.
“Their promo card says, ‘as your neighbor,’” Schasel said. “So I feel like they’re already trying to come in as a part of the community.”