Dozens of students gather by guidance office to voice concerns to representatives
Students for Global Responsibility's (SGR) campaign to promote awareness on the genocide in Darfur continued today with a call-in session on Blair Boulevard across from the guidance office during 5A and 5B lunches.
The call-in was the second of a two-part program being launched by SGR to raise awareness and promote action among students for more U.S. involvement to end Darfur's ongoing genocide.
Edelman reported that by the middle of 5B, over 250 calls had been made to representatives, with mostly positive responses from the four representatives. Although some students had their messages cut short, Van Hollen's camp was "very receptive, and most callers were able to read the entire message," Edelman said. The offices of Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski were closed, but students filled up their mailboxes with messages encouraging action in Darfur. The student effort has been so effective, Edelman reported, that the office of Albert Wynn contacted club sponsor George Vlasits to stop the calls, and has agreed to meet with club leaders to discuss possible legislative action. Still, Edelman encouraged students to continue making calls. "If we're jamming their phone lines, they will hear about the issue and take action," he said.
SGR was pleased with event's turnout. "I'm really excited to see Blazers step up to bring this issue to the attention of politicians," Edelman said. "Right now, genocide is not being treated as a political issue, and it's important to remind politicians that students care, that constituents care."
Many students thought the campaign would prove to be effective. "I think that this will help, even if only a little," said freshman Julia Skolnik. "It feels good, you feel like you did something."
A presentation from Rebecca Glade, member of the Georgetown University chapter of Students Against Genocide Coalition (STAND) preceded today's call-in campaign. Glade addressed the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region in Sudan at 2:15 yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday's presentation focused on educating students on the situation in Darfur, the first part of SGR's threefold attempt to urge education, advocacy, and donation among Blazers. After a short film and presentation, Glade then facilitated questions from concerned students which ranged from the U.N.'s peacekeeping involvement to what company investments directly fund the region's militarism. Edelman agreed with Glade's assertion that the genocide can be addressed on both ends of the political spectrum. "Its not a political issue, it's a human rights issue and both Democrats and Republicans should do something about it," he said today.
Edelman summed up SGR's approach to the Darfur genocide in three simple words: "Educate, advocate, donate."
Additional reporting contributed by Hokuma Karimova
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