More than 100 students and professors gathered on the lawn in front of Haskell Hall last Wednesday to form a huge human peace sign as the culminating event in recognizing the International Day of Peace.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to go along with its opening session, which is held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The General Assembly took a unanimous vote to establish Sept. 21as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.
Candy Fox and Trish Vanderspuy, professors at Castleton State College, organized various activities including the human peace sign to honor the day.
“I really wanted to spread the word about Peace Day, to give our FYS Learning Community “Alternatives to Violence” students a real opportunity to plan and participate in a peace event, and to share information about the success of one peace-seeking group in the world,” Fox said.
James Gabriel, a nursing student, said once he saw the flyer, he knew it was something he wanted to come to.
“I have always supported peace. I’m 50 years old so I’ve seen my share of war and it is not the answer,” he said.
The attending group also watched a 30-minute documentary on the origins of International Peace Day, produced by Peace-One-Day, the founding organization.
“The content of the film showed how after 10 years of hard work, the group was able to achieve a day of ceasefire first in Afghanistan and later in other parts of the world. On this day children could be vaccinated against communicable diseases such as polio, food could be distributed to war-ravaged countries, and people could be assured of one complete day of no guns and bombs going off,” Fox said.
The idea for the human peace sign itself came from the film.
Fox said she was very pleased with the turnout of students and faculty and that the peace day events were an overall success.
“The feedback from students and others was very positive,” she said.
Freshman Matthew Currier, couldn’t agree more.
“I believe peace is a great aspect to the world. Peace inspires me because it is the opposite of war and war causes harm to people’s lives and communities,” he said.
Fox said she hopes this won’t be the last human peace sign at Castleton.
“Trish and I really hope we have started a tradition for the students and faculty,” she said.