Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, the Intercultural Center and Commuter Cottage (IC3) has hosted several events with the goal of educating the community about the conflict. Multiple events were held the week of Nov. 5, with additional events being held in the following weeks.
Alisa Xhabija, a senior business management major, created the Flags for Palestine event that took place on Nov. 15. This was a presentation led by students and a discussion surrounding the effect of the war in Gaza on Palestinians. Following the discussion, there was an activity in which students created a Palestinian flag with handprints commemorating lives lost to the conflict.
Xhabija came up with the idea for the event and spoke about it with Thomas Morgan, Director of Student Activities and Orientation, who connected her with the IC3, who she worked with to put on the event.
“I had this idea because I realized many people are not aware of what is going on and there is a lot of misinformation in our media. The IC3 helped me take my vision and create it into a reality. They allowed me to use their space for the event and helped me with the planning and provided supplies,” Xhabija said. “The purpose of this event was to bring students together and help them learn about what is happening in Palestine. I mainly wanted to focus on Gaza and the Palestinian resistance because we do not hear that side being talked about or represented in school often. I wanted to create a safe environment for anyone to ask questions and learn.”
On Nov. 7, the Student Government Association (SGA) collaborated with the IC3 to host a Cards for Peace event in Brennan Library. Students and faculty had the opportunity to write cards of encouragement to innocent civilians impacted by the conflict.
The next day, a Zoom discussion led by Dr. Jared Dmello was held. The goal of Detangling Conflict: A Conversation about Israel-Palestine Relations was to inform participants of the history building up to the conflict, as well as holding a “conversation about the current discourses driving the political and social responses to violence.”
Two additional workshops were held on Nov. 16. The Jewish Identity and Antisemitism Workshop held in Brennan Library provided administrators with “an overview of Jewish identity, the diversity of Jewish experience, historical and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism, and how to address antisemitism within the context of free speech and academic freedom.” The goal of the workshop was to increase participants’ knowledge and awareness of antisemitism, as well as how to create a more inclusive campus.
The student workshop, Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present, was held in the Michael B. Alexander Science and Technology Center with the purpose of furthering students’ understanding of the historical and current implications of antisemitism through a viewing of a film with the same title as the workshop. The film teaches students how to identify and respond to bias against Jewish people.
Xhabija believes these kinds of events are beneficial to promote a more globally aware community on campus. “It is important for students to have these types of events on campus because it brings students together and helps broaden perspectives. During the event students and staff were engaging in conversations about Palestine and coming together to talk about the issues we are facing as a society. It is important for students to be aware of what is happening in our world outside of what we know,” she said.