Join students in the movement to make a better community

Students take on an active role on campus 

BREANNA FORGIONNE
Staff Writer

submitted photo: Nicole Ditolla for The Aquinas STUDENTS TAKE a photo during Relay for Life on April 24. Relay for Life was just one of the many group activities that students looking to get involved can participate in.

submitted photo: Nicole Ditolla for The Aquinas
STUDENTS TAKE a photo during Relay for Life on April 24. Relay for Life was just one of the many group activities that students looking to get involved can participate in.

When preparation for finals begins, stress quickly follows. However, The University has alleviated some of this stress for students with different April events. Several of these events here on our campus have sparked a variety of interests in the student body. From Earth Day to Take Back the Night to Relay for Life, these events have inspired students to take a stand for what they believe in and to make a difference in the community at large.

The Earth Day “Caring for Creation” sign on the DeNaples Center has been attracting the attention of students for quite some time now. The sign is promoting awareness about the different Earth Day events on campus. The Office of Sustainability has been hosting a number of these events to encourage students and faculty to live a more sustainable life and to go green.

The University hosted “An Evening of Environmental Science” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Earth Day, which was April 22, in the Loyola Science Center. The event included interactive displays and different experiments presented by University students and faculty. About 50 students and staff members volunteered, and more than 100 guests attended this event.

Junior Jenny Bowers is the vice president of the Sustainability Club at The University. Bowers is a sociology, political science and philosophy triple major. She said that Earth Week is a huge focus in the Spring semester.

“Our club always tries to incorporate fun and engaging ways to show the rest of campus why this is an important problem and what we can do as a college community to try and help,” Bowers said.

Mark Murphy of the Office of Sustainability said in an email interview that “April 22, Earth Day, is an opportunity to focus our campus and local communities’ attention on caring for our planet, not just for us but also for future generations.”

Take Back the Night was another popular event that attracted many students. It is an international march and rally that protests sexual assault and all forms of violence. The event is usually held during the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Jane Kopas Women’s Center and the Women’s Resource Center of Lackawanna County sponsored this annual event, which took place April 23.

According to The University’s website, these two groups have hosted Take Back the Night for 25 years. The event calls for an end to violence, and regardless of gender, sexual orientation and religious or political affiliation, everyone should have the right to be safe.

On the morning of April 23, students displayed The University’s chapter of The Clothesline Project around the perimeter of the Dionne Green. The Clothesline Project started in Cape Cod in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. Women affected by violence had the opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a shirt to put on display. This project has spread nationwide with the help and support of many people.

The night began with a pre-rally on the Dionne Green at 4:30 p.m., where there were tables with available resources, refreshments and different activities. The rally and march began at 7 p.m., at which time students and Scranton community members marched down Linden Street to the Lackawanna County Courthouse.

The rally featured some guest speakers, music, a speak out opportunity and a candlelight vigil.

Another recent event that students actively participated in was Relay for Life. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer in Relay for Life, which is sponsored by The American Cancer Society.

The University’s own relay event took place April 24 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the Byron Recreation Center. This year’s theme was “Riding the Wave Against Cancer,” so the Byron Center was filled with leis and beach decorations.

Each team had the opportunity to set up a fundraising event in the Byron Center, whether it was face painting, a photo booth or a bake sale. The proceeds from these different fundraisers were donated to the American Cancer Society.

Students began the event with an opening ceremony, where they walked a survivor lap around the Byron Center to celebrate survivors’ victories over cancer.

The Luminaria Ceremony was also a major highlight of the night. Students had the opportunity to create luminaria bags to honor loved ones who have passed or are fighting some form of cancer. These bags were placed around the perimeter of the Byron Center and lit in remembrance.

Throughout the night, students enjoyed a few rounds of food and music, different activities and the opportunity to participate in a raffle. The University’s Urban Beats Crew dance team and the two a cappella groups also gave outstanding performances.

The Fight Back Ceremony ended the event when relayers took a final lap and pledged to take action by spreading awareness of cancer research, prevention and treatment options.

This event took time, dedication and effort from the community, faculty and students alike.

Kristen Maslar was a Relay for Life event chair this year. Maslar is a senior majoring in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology with a minor in theology.

“Overall, our event was extremely successful. We had over 600 participants attend, and so far, we raised $50,612.78. It is such a rewarding feeling to be able to give back to the American Cancer Society,” Maslar said.

Her favorite part of the night was the Luminaria ceremony, which Maslar said was “really moving.”

Erica DeSanctis is a first-year finance major, and this was her first time attending Relay for Life.

“My favorite part was seeing everyone from The U united for such a great cause. It really showed how selfless they are and how much work and time they are willing to put into such a great cause,” she said.

Melissa Busch also attended the event for her first time this year, and said that her “favorite part was the atmosphere, the support and optimism that the individuals who participated in Relay for Life expressed.”

First-year student Kathryn Mortati said that the event “really exemplified the values of our school and showed unity and dedication to serving others.”

These three events on campus prove that when students actively work together, The University has the potential to help the people around us, the community and our atmosphere. If it were not for the dedication and effort students put in to making these different events possible, their success would not exemplify the service, spirit and hard-working nature of The University as a whole.

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