Students Taking Action Now: Darfur held a fundraising and awareness event on the concrete beach Wednesday afternoon. The event’s goal was to raise awareness about the conflict in Darfur, to raise funds, and to discourage the university from investing in companies operating in Sudan.
Each participant had to raise a minimum $15 to compete in the event, said STAND member Tamara Morgenthau. Activities included hula hooping, making barn noises, getting sprayed with water, and blowing bubble gum.
“We want to make people recognize what we’re doing,” said Ellie Dayan, a second-year psychology student and STAND member. “We’re not just a serious club, we have fun events too.”
The event gave students an opportunity to respond to inequities in other parts of the world, according to Sarhan Abu-Kwiek, first-year engineering student.
“I’m from the Middle East, so I know… my people are suffering, [and] there’s others too. Here the government works for the people — there, not so much,” he said.
“It makes me feel sorry because people [here] waste their money. They could be spending it on something like this,” he added.
Flyers explaining divestment — selling off investments because of moral or political concerns about particular companies — circulated at the event. These flyers explained that multinational companies conducting business with the Sudanese government are supporting a regime that is allegedly responsible for attacks on Darfuran civilians.
“[The university] has investments in businesses that are operating in Sudan… [so] we’re making a presentation about divestment,” Morgenthau said.
Fourth-year medical sciences student Mohammed El-Makdah said he is inspired to continue his support.
“I can tell they’re enthusiastic for what they do… I hope what they’re working for, they get it. They definitely manage to get information out there,” he said.
Nathan Martin won the competition for staying the longest, displaying the most energy, and engaging in many events. His enthusiasm was rewarded with the grand prize of two tickets to a Toronto Blue Jays game.
STAND invites all students to the next event, Commemoration for Rwanda Day. Two films will be shown to publicize the Darfur and Rwanda atrocities, one of which is Shaking Hands with the Devil. The event will be held April 6 in Conron Hall at 5 p.m.