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Monday, May 27, 2024

Friends and former roommates remember Aggie Ameena Hayat

Hayat was the spiritual sister coordinator for the Muslim Student Association and died suddenly in a nine-car pile-up in San Lorenzo on Feb. 24

Ameena Hayat, a 22-year-old fourth-year human development major at UC Davis, was on her way to see a family friend when she died in a nine-car accident near San Lorenzo, CA on the morning of Feb. 24.

Sahrish Bhatti, a fourth-year psychology major, met Hayat when they became roommates in Davis. 

“She was a very loud person in a good way,” Bhatti said.

A., Hayat’s other roommate and fourth-year design major who requested to be referred to by her first initial, said she fondly remembers talking with Hayat after classes at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) late into the evening. 

“Every time we got together, we couldn’t stop talking,” A. said. “We had so much in common and so much to share.”

Hayat’s childhood best friend, M., a third-year psychobiology major who also requested to be referred to by her first initial, said they would dedicate their Fridays to hanging out and cooking together. 

“We tried to make something new every week,” M. said. 

The first night Hayat moved into her Davis apartment, M. said they were both exhausted from the move.

“We ended up making boxed macaroni,” M. said. “It wasn’t much, but it was a nice memory.”

M. said Hayat’s smile and demeanor were contagious and could put anyone in a good mood.

“I feel like a lot of people were comfortable with her, which is kind of a rare trait to have especially when you meet someone for the first time,” M. said. “But with her, she makes you feel like you’ve known her for forever.” 

A. said that Hayat went out of her way to make people feel loved.

“Whenever she would see you, she would always be so sweet and use sweet endearing terms in Farsi, or she would give you this sweet little nickname,” A. said.

Hayat’s death was sudden and spread through phone calls between family and friends. 

“[The friend Hayat went to see] texted me, asking if I knew where she was because they hadn’t heard from them in a few hours,” M. said. “So I was going back and forth between our friend and Ameena’s sister trying to figure out where she was.”

M. was informed that Hayat never made it to the house and that she had died at the scene. 

Before she died, Hayat was a prominent board member and spiritual sister of the Muslim Student Association. In that role, her duties included organizing faith-based events where students would get together, talk and build community. 

A. said that she touched people’s hearts with her work at the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UC Davis. 

“She helped us strengthen our faith in and with God and also each other,” A. said. “We really created this safe space full of really amazing people.” 

Hayat had planned to go into the healthcare field, but her back-up was to own a farm with a lot of animals according to her bio on the MSA website.

Hayat had been spending more time with her family in Alameda, CA over the past few months, which M. said was a blessing. 

“It’s kind of nice if you think about it, because the way that everything happened she was able to spend a lot of time with her family before her passing,” M. said. 

A. was taking a silkscreen course with Hayat where they were making posters and Hayat had chosen self-growth as her subject. 

“The night before she was with [M.] finalizing that topic and her sketches for that poster,” A. said. “Then the next morning she passed away.” 

The California Aggie used this finished silkscreen piece, with the consent of A., as the graphic for this story.

The number of people at her funeral and how peaceful it was, A. said, was a testament to how great of a person Hayat was. 

Written by: Kathleen Quinn — campus@theaggie.org 


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