By Karol Ibarra
“Blessed Are the Peacemakers” was the theme of this year’s Lasallian Week of Peace, which encouraged the Saint Mary’s University community to participate in social justice themed activities as well as pray for world peace.
Lasallian Week of Peace began with Mass on Sunday Oct. 3. According to Chris McClead, co-director of campus ministry, Sunday was dedicated to a “peace reflection.”
On Oct. 4 a farmers’ market was held in the plaza from 3 to 5 p.m. “About 100 people came to the farmers’ market,” said McClead. McClead said the purpose of the farmers’ market was to encourage peace and to promote smaller farms.
“Smaller farmers take better care of the food cultivated on their land,” McClead said. McClead added that guest speaker Doug Nopar also came to SMU to talk about what college students eat for dinner, and how they can harvest it inside.
On Oct. 5, activities focused on discussions about peace. “Storytelling from Guatemala” was put on by SMU students who had taken a Serving Others United In Love (SOUL) mission trip to Guatemala in May. “Students shared stories from their visits from Guatemala,” said McClead. In addition, McClead said the Lasallian Collegians Peace Program met in the Toner Game Room to discuss peace both personally and internationally.
On Oct. 6, a video conference with students from Bethlehem University was held in the lower level of Saint Mary’s Hall, where students and professors from SMU asked Bethlehem University students questions about their everyday lives. According to Dr. Dorothy Diehl, chair of Modern and Classical languages, the conference was not much of a dialogue; most of the discussion came from the Bethlehem students. Another activity tied to the video conference was the “Day in the Life of a Palestinian.”
“I am always so amazed how the students from Bethlehem are able to share their lives, especially living under occupation. It was a good learning experience,” said Diehl.
On Oct. 7, Brother Paul Joslin gave a presentation about his experience in Guatemala. “About 75 to 90 people came to hear Brother Paul speak about Brother James Miller and their experiences in Guatemala,” said McClead.
On Oct. 8, the Peace and Justice club held a Fair Trade event where they sold Guatemalan coffee and peace bracelets, McClead said. In addition to the Fair Trade event, Habitat for Humanity held a “Shack-a-thon” for homelessness awareness. Students built forts made out of cardboard boxes and slept in the Plaza from 8 p.m. Friday night until Saturday morning.
On Saturday Oct. 9, the final activity planned for Week of Peace was supposed to be an Iron Chef Competition. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to lack of interest. “Not enough teams signed up to prepare food for the competition,” said Diehl. According to McClead, the proceeds would have gone towards a scholarship helping a student from the Gaza Strip go to Bethlehem University.