Students wrote messages on paper flowers to inspire and encourage.
By Tania Flores
About 30 students crafted messages on paper flowers to encourage people to spread peace, love and kindness Sept. 21 during this college’s observation of International Day of Peace.
The event in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center was sponsored by the center for civic engagement.
International Day of Peace was “established by the United Nations to promote peace by collaborating with the organizations in the U.N system, the 193-member state of the U.N, private sectors, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens,” according to internationaldayofpeace.org.
This year’s theme is “Together for Peace”: Respect, Safety and Dignity for all,” according to the website.
A large, bright blue banner reading “Peace Day” hung across the windows on the south side of the Fiesta Room to attract participants and display the end products.
Students were provided paper flowers, permanent markers and peace sign necklaces at tables covered in bright tablecloths.
Participants were encouraged to write messages on the paper flowers before taping the paper flowers on the banner.
The event started with an opening prayer by social work sophomore Jerry Martinez, vice president of the Wesley Foundation Student Organization at the Methodist Student Center.
Joseph Liedecke, coordinator of student success and the event, asked him to open the activity with a prayer.
Although Martinez felt nervous about speaking to a crowd, he said he was happy to deliver a prayer considering the importance of peace.
“Making time to consider saying a prayer that includes all religious and nonreligious beliefs for the sake of connecting everyone together was an important point in my prayer,” he said. “Although everyone has a different interpretation of peace, spreading peace is easily done by participating in these type of events because you never know who your message will inspire.”
Communication freshman Gabriel De Leon participated because he was curious to learn what the peace day event was about.
After the objective was explained by the event coordinator, he wrote “God loves you and loves finds a way” on a paper flower.
He said he wants to spread love by “reminding others that God loves them.”
He shared an experience of a relationship that ended after his ex-girlfriend’s parents did not approve of his race.
“Sometimes people need to be reminded that everyone is loved no matter what their race is,” he said.
At the end of the event, Liedecke said, “I’m pleased with the number of participants and hope that someone’s day will be brighter after they read the messages or maybe their day will be brighter because they wrote a kind message for someone.”
He said he hopes the Peace Day mixer will become an annual event.
For information on the center for civic engagement, contact Liedecke at 210-486-0137 or email email@example.com.