Oct 242007
Authors: Molly Arbrister

More than 25 candles burned around the Oval last night in somber awareness of the genocide in Darfur.

A contingent of CSU students, led by freshman political science major Joe Howard, held a vigil for those in the region of Darfur, the western region of Sudan that has been torn with hate and violence since 2003.

The vigil served not only as a time for those in attendance to reflect on the situation and come together with others who share their concern, but also provided an opportunity to collect signatures for a petition to be presented to the White House and the United Nations to take action to put an end to the suffering in Darfur.

Howard began the vigil by explaining the situation in Darfur and clarifying the history of the region. Then, he led the students on a silent walk around the Oval, each holding a candle.

Once the students had made their circle, they gathered to hear Howard’s recitation of a Chinese proverb of love, followed by a moment of silence and extinguishing of candles before the crowd dispersed.

The vigil inspired other students to become a bigger part of the cause as well.

“It got me motivated to go further with it,” said Joshua Quintana, a freshman business major.

Howard’s fervor for the cause can help it spread and reach its goals, attendees said.

Howard hopes to collect 500,000 signatures before it goes to the White House and thanks to the effort of this group of students, that goal is a little closer.

Howard said has researched the region of Darfur and the anger, violence and hate that have ripped it apart.

“I have been involved with this since the beginning,” the freshman said.

Being a member of the Key Service Community, a service-learning program that introduces freshmen to civic service, Howard has already made an impact in his few months at CSU.

Those who attended the vigil are now more aware of the atrocities in Darfur, Howard said.

“I love that people took their candles with them,” he said. “It’s a metaphor.”

Howard said he plans to hold another vigil in the spring. Students interested in signing the petition can do so by visiting the Key Service Community office in the northeast wing of Aylesworth hall.

Staff writer Molly Arbrister can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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