2009/04/08:Royal Purple News: Week gives peace a chance - Peace, Education, and Activism through Creative Engagement

Week gives peace a chance
Julie DiLullo
Royal Purple News
Issue date: 4/8/09 Section: Lifestyle

Senior Phil Giershwin strums away on his guitar at the Greenhouse Cafe to raise money for the food pantry last Thursday at the second-annual Media Credit: Jonathan Good

Ending the war and eliminating world hunger are just two of the goals of Peace Week, which originated from "Rock for Peace," an event created last year to raise money for local charities. Local bands performed at the Greenhouse Café, and allowed P.E.A.C.E. to bring its values to the community.

Due to the communities' positive responses to "Rock for Peace," junior Karen Drydyk, founder of P.E.A.C.E., decided to dedicate an entire week in April to promoting peace.

Proceeds raised will be donated to local charities including the food pantry and Invisible Children charity organization that raises money to help fund and build schools in Uganda.

"The food pantry not only needs non-perishable food, but they also need money to pay their rent, and they need money for fresh fruit and vegetables that are purchased daily," Drydyk said.

Kelsey Walsh looks forward to celebrating Peace Week.

"There is nothing like P.E.A.C.E. on campus," Walsh said. "There is no political affiliation; it is not threatening or offensive. The organization serves to unify."

Vice president and junior Pat Broderick believes P.E.A.C.E. is an important organization that students should be aware of.

"I think for us, peace should be a proactive thing," Broderick said. "Peace isn't just about the absence of war or ending violence. Peace is about the community, building connections with your peers and bringing people together."

P.E.A.C.E. meets on Wednesday evenings at 5 p.m. in the UC.

"It gives students a chance to be part of issues that aren't covered in the classroom," Drydyk said.

Sophomore Shannon Erb was one of the first students to join P.E.A.C.E.

"I had been waiting for an organization like this one to start up since I arrived at school," Erb said.

Sophomore Kristen Hilbert has always been interested in helping others as well as people in her community.

"I think it is important to raise awareness and advocate for peace," Hilbert said. "The fact is, if our generation brings peace, younger generations will follow."

This year's Peace week included the 2nd annual "Rock for Peace," as well as the theatrical production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie: An American Woman's Experience in Gaza."

The production, performed by two UW-Whitewater students, was about a young college student who traveled to Gaza, but was killed by a bulldozer operated by Israel Defense Forces during a protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes by the IDF.

"As college students or even as Americans, I feel we are not aware of international affairs," Freshman Britt Asbach said. "I think what is going on over there is a terrible thing, but if the issue is not in front of us, we have a tendency to ignore it."