Monday, Oct. 17 kicked off the start of AWeek Without Violence. The entire week was dedicated to promoting tolerance and peace on Seton Hill University’s (SHU) campus.The first event planned for the week was Peace Release. A small gathering of students and faculty members gathered on Sullivan Lawn to sign a peace pledge together. After signing the pledge, senior Jessica Orlowski gave a brief speech detailing her experience in Europe this summer.Orlowski visited many Holocaust historical sites this summer in Poland, including the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
“Understanding what happened in those places and being able to educate others on what happened is the best way to instill a sense of tolerance in the world,” said Orlowski. She also hoped that education would prevent prejudices from occurring and teach understanding.
After the speech, students and faculty released blue balloons into the air as a symbolic gesture of peace being sent out into the world.
“I came out today because I thought it would be a moving ceremony, and I wanted to promote peace,” said freshman Lea Marra.
Marra’s roommate, freshman Katie Gammon, said, “It is important for students to show support for Peace Week.”
The faculty present seemed to share similar thoughts on Peace Release. One professor in particular had been looking forward to Peace Release for quite some time.
“During this time of the semester, everything is overwhelming. I believe in peace, and I thought this would be just the break I needed,” said associate professor of Spanish, Debra Faszer-McMahon.
She received a reminder e-mail with a picture of balloons flying into the air, which is what ultimately prompted her to attend. “[The e-mail] just reminded me about the bigger, more important issues in life.”
The event set for the following day was a Unity Rally hosted at St. Claire Park, as well as an informational table on domestic violence run by the NAACP Student Organization in Maura Solarium.
The aim of the week is simply to bring a small time of peace into a chaotic world.