Three Carleton University students who died in a vehicle collision 12 days ago were remembered at a memorial service at the university Monday morning.

About 120 people, mostly family and close friends, attended the 11 a.m. service for 19-year-old Vanessa Crawford, 19-year-old Brianne Deschamps and 20-year-old Mark MacDonald at the university's Fenn Lounge. It was not open to the media.

The three students died after their SUV was hit by a transit bus at Riverside Drive and Heron Road in the early hours of Jan. 23.

Many at the service said their thoughts were with Ben Gardiner, 20, and Monica Neacsu, 19, two students who were injured in the crash but survived. Gardiner remained in hospital Monday, but doctors were not releasing details about his condition. 

University chaplain Rev. Tom Sherwood, who spoke at the service, said the deaths are a significant event for many students at the university.

"These are people who were born in 1988, 1989. Their grandparents are still alive and many of them are attending their first funeral and memorial service. It's their first experience of a very significant loss — the death of a friend," he told CBC News before the event.

"It challenges your sense of identity and of your own vulnerability and your own invulnerability, and it's good to gather with others who are feeling the same way and help each other through it."

The family of MacDonald is from Arnprior, near Ottawa. The families of Crawford and Deschamps were to travel from the Sarnia for the service.

Shelley Melanson, president of the Carleton University Students Association, said she hoped the families would see that their children were dearly loved and appreciated by friends and a strong community at the university.

"And hopefully it will give some comfort to know that their grief is shared by many," she said.