STAND organizes week for genocide awareness

Lizzy Heurich

STAND hosted the second annual Genocide Awareness Week to help raise awareness about the ongoing genocide in Sudan, Darfur, Burma and other countries and regions throughout the world.

The week included many events to get Villanova students and faculty involved in the crusade against genocide.

On Oct. 19, the week kicked off with the showing of the documentary, “A Secret Genocide.”

Produced two years ago, the documentary depicts the current genocide in Burma.

Because Burmese authorities allow no foreigners or humanitarian organizations across their borders, the people who filmed “A Secret Genocide” had to illegally cross the borders to capture the atrocities occurring there.

Club officials were pleased with the number of attendees at the screening, especially since it was held on the first day back from fall break.

The third annual Rock Out Against Genocide benefit concert was held in CEER on Oct. 20.

Two of Villanova’s a cappella groups, the Sirens and Spires, performed along with B-Czens and Friends, who started off the night with the covers of some current popular songs, including “I’ve Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

The concert had about 50 people in attendance.

The week’s last event occurred on Oct. 22, when Professor Timothy Horner, STAND’s faculty adviser, spoke about the consequences of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

Held in Bartley, his speech was an ACS-approved event, so many freshmen attended.

A table was set up every day outside of the Italian Kitchen, where jewelry, key chains, T-shirts and other items were sold to help raise money.

All the proceeds raised, which totaled about $1,000, were donated to Genocide Intervention Network.

GI-Net uses donations to protect citizens in countries where genocide is occurring and to fund their education and advocacy programs.

STAND raised about $3,000 in both 2007 and 2008 for the GI-Net.

In fact, in 2007, STAND and Villanova raised the most money for the GI-Net out of any other college or high school in the United States.

During this time, GI-Net used the money to help the United Nations peacekeeping forces in areas such as Burma and Darfur.

STAND Co-Presidents, senior Beth Awalt and junior Jenn Maez, and Genocide Awareness Week Chair junior Alex Frantz dedicated much of their time to planning the week, which is one of the club’s largest events of the year.

Awalt, who has been involved with STAND since her freshman year, was incredibly pleased with the success of Genocide Awareness Week.

Being involved in such a cause has changed Awalt’s perspective on life.

“There is more to my life than just ‘Nova,” Awalt said. “There is more to my life than just what’s happening in America.”

STAND is dedicated to aiding in the fight against genocide, and does so through educating their peers, political advocacy and fundraising.