Genocide Awareness and Action Week is a week dedicated to increasing the awareness of genocide that happens around the world and impacts different groups of people. With a series of movies, an Anne Frank exhibit, and the Butterfly Project, Genocide Awareness and Action week hopes that students understand the seriousness of each of these events. Jennifer Ruglio, coordinator of genocide week and a senior, explains the importance of this event in regards to Juniata.
How did the idea of Genocide Awareness and Action Week get started?
- Genocide Awareness and Action Week started last year created by Lily Kruglak who studied abroad in Rwanda. When she came back, she wanted to use everything that she learned and bring it back to Juniata.
What is necessary to organize the week?
- I started preparing for the week last semester. I assembled a committee of students to help coordinate the week and met with them regularly this semester and my advisor, Alison Fletcher. Last semester we started coordinating the funding for the week. There is a long list of academic departments, offices, and RSOs who are contributing to help make the week possible. We really wanted to make sure that we had the funding to finance all the events. In addition, there was a lot of decision making in the things we wanted represented in the week and it became narrower over time.
Was it difficult to organize the events?
- It has not been difficult but it has been very time consuming for me. There are a lot of different aspects that need my attention that I was responsible for. I think the biggest challenge is the scope of it. It was a lot of events all in a one-week period. It’s just making sure that all of those events are planned out.
How was Genocide Awareness and Action Week perceived on campus last year?
- I think that last year was very successful for it being the first year of the program. We really were sure of what to expect, what the reaction would be, or what kind of support we would have. We are very considerate of people perception of the week. We want students and everyone the campus to understand that it is a serious subject and we are not taking it lightly. Genocide is something that most of the committee members have thought about and have studied academically.
What are some of the events that are planned throughout the week?
- The Butterfly Project, which takes places on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Von Liebig Lobby from 1-3pm, is based out of Holocaust Museum Houston to memorialize the 1.5 million Jewish children killed during the Holocaust. They are attempting to collect 1.5 million handmade butterflies. On Monday night at 7:30pm in Neff Lecture Hall, Ms Eugenie Mukeshimana is coming to talk Juniata who is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and is a founder and the Executive Director of the Genocide Survivor Support Network that is a non-profit aimed at helping survivors rebuild their lives and at educating the public about the crime of genocide.
Corey Lacey ’14, Juniata Online Journalist