News 2013: UMass Dartmouth Honors Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, First Responders on International Peace Day

News 2013: UMass Dartmouth Honors Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, First Responders on International Peace Day
UMass Dartmouth Honors Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, First Responders on International Peace Day

Peace Tree Plantings Conclude Week of Reflection, Remembrance, and Service

This past Saturday UMass Dartmouth students planted a ceremonial peace tree at the UMass Dartmouth Track Field during the opening ceremony of the UMass Dartmouth Shriners Cross Country Invitational. The tree was planted in honor of those killed and wounded in the Boston Marathon bombing and the brave medical and public safety officials who were on scene during the April 15th attack. University officials, faculty, students, public safety officials, and cross country track teams from across New England were present for the ceremony. 

"I am so proud of our students, who have demonstrated an uncommon character since the Boston Marathon tragedy and the events that followed," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman during her remarks at the ceremony. "To all the competitors here today....I ask that you run in memory of those harmed on April 15 and in celebration of our unyielding determination to keep moving forward, despite any obstacle." 

The planting of a gingko peace tree is another effort by UMass Dartmouth students to honor and support victims of Boston Marathon bombing. Students have organized candlelight vigils, raised money, and also organized a Torch Relay from Dartmouth to Boston, which raised $7,500 for One Fund Boston. 

"As a student body, we take serious the responsibility to honor victims and our brave first responders," noted Marven Rhode Hyppolite, President of the UMass Dartmouth Student Government Association. "We must do all we can and today's peace tree planting allows us to remember those killed and wounded and the brave men and women who responded to the attack." 

The tree planting ceremony was part of a week-long undertaking by university officials, faculty, and students to observe the International Day of Peace, observed annually on September 21st. Following the morning ceremony, a second tree, donated by UMass Dartmouth professor Michelle Keith, was planted in downtown New Bedford at 1 p.m. by New Bedford Beautiful (nbbeautiful), a public-private partnership launched to keep the city of New Bedford clean and make it more livable. Students and community members are set to attend. 

"This morning's ceremony concludes a week of reflection, remembrance, and service," said Daniel Keith, 2013 alumni, who helped organized the ceremony. "Today demonstrates a university wide commitment to honor the Marathon bombing victims, their families, and our brave first responders." 

Other events leading up to and occurring on International Peace Day included: 

Wednesday, September 18th through Friday, September 20th 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. -- UMass Dartmouth's Frederick Douglass Unity House showed three documentaries followed by discussions which involved issues of peace and conflict. The Unity House also held a pinwheels for peace workshop the entire week where students took part in an International art and literacy project, crafting and planting pinwheels with messages of peace. 

Friday, September 20th 11:00 a.m. -- A Peace Pole Planting Ceremony took place between the Campus Center and the Marketplace organized by the UMass Dartmouth's Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. 

Saturday, September 21st 8:30 a.m. to 12 Noon -- In the same area of downtown New Bedford where the second tree planting took place, 40 students took part in Saturday's Operation Clean Sweep (OCS). OCS was formed in early 2006 as a result of citizen concern for the amount of trash and litter throughout New Bedford. Operation Clean Sweep organizes a series of cleanups throughout the city from April through September. 

Saturday, September 21st 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. -- Student Millenium Network Discussion on Millenium Goals presented by the Leduc Center will take place in the Grand Reading Room of the Claire T. Carney Library.