For Vernée Norman, the busy schedule that accompanies college life often keeps her occupied almost her capacity. She has found that Peace Week allows her and other Union College students to step beyond her own responsibilities and think about serving others. “To me, Peace Week is about the Union campus taking time to intentionally think about their actions and how they affect other people,” explained the senior second language studies major.
Union College will celebrate Peace Week this week, April 20 - 25. “Sunday, April 20, was Resurrection Day, which served as a perfect springboard to a week filled with hope, freedom, and lasting peace,” explained Chris Blake, associate professor of English. The events will be coordinated by Blake’s Conflict and Peacemaking class in conjunction with the campus Amnesty/Tiny Hands International club. As one of the organizers behind the various events of the week, Norman believes that students and the rest of the community stand to greatly benefit if they participate. She stated that “the activities and presentations during Peace Week provide a way to learn about and practice making positive changes that affect the individual's life.”
As it has done in previous years, the week-long event will focus on the four pillars of peacemaking outlined by the Seventh-Day Adventist church: dialogue, justice forgiveness, and reconciliation. “As a result of this peacemaking focus, we all can take away the idea that positive, intentional action is practically effective in the face of violence and hatred,” said Blake. “Too often as humans we cave in to apathy, paralysis, and fear. Here's the good news: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear" (1 John 4:18). To live every week with that perfect love is our goal and our joy.”
Peace Week Schedule
Sunday, April 20. Resurrection Day. A Sonrise Service—a time of prayer, sharing and music—was held under the cross at the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church at 6:45 a.m.
Monday, April 21. Dialogue Day. An interactive discussion will be held at the Ortner Center’s Shawnee-Porter Room at 7:30 p.m. in order to teach participants how to discuss opposing views on any issue, particularly gender orientation discrimination, by learning listening techniques, and seeking to understand other viewpoints.
Tuesday, April 22. Justice Day. A day-long competition will be hosted on Freerice.com. The site is a trivia game site that donate 10 grains of rice for every right answer. The individuals with the highest scores at the end of the day will receive a prize. Amnesty International will also sponsor a table at the Ortner Center during lunch hours where there will be an opportunity to sign social justice letters.
Wednesday, April 23. Forgiveness Day. A booth stationed at the Ortner Center will allow individuals the opportunity to write letters to other people asking for forgiveness or telling them they forgive them.
Thursday, April 24. Reconciliation Day. Oscar Harriot will discuss Reconciliation within Union College at the Rees Hall chapel at 10 p.m.
Friday, April 25. Amnesty International club