Week’s events to raise awareness of Darfur genocide

The TCU community is participating in Global Days for Darfur to raise awareness about the genocide occurring in Darfur, a professor said. Global Days is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness and is all about education and action, said Cecil Van de Voorde, an assistant criminal justice professor.

“I want people to wake up, pay attention and start acting,” said Van de Voorde, who is managing this week’s events.

Nathan Kaspar, a junior criminal justice major, said the Build-a-Camp event will challenge students to create a small refugee camp meant to raise awareness about the genocide occurring in Darfur. Kaspar said building started at 8 a.m Tuesday.

“This week of events is a step in the process of making a difference,” Kaspar said.

Van de Voorde said one tent built is a refugee hut filled with posters and fliers for information and the other will represent a medical unit. She said she wants people to be aware and to seek out more information and share it with others.

Canopies were provided by the Rec Center and all other materials were either donated or bought from Home Depot for less than $10, Kaspar said. He said there is no budget for the refugee camp.

STAND, which stands for Students Take Action Now, Darfur, is a student anti-genocide coalition that is heading up the Global Days events, he said.

He said along with the refugee camp there will be posters of people in Darfur, small grave sites and wooden crosses.

“We either choose to ignore it,” Kaspar said, “Or we do not even know about it at all.”

Kaspar said this crisis has been going on since 2003, and at least 400,000 people have been murdered and 2.5 million displaced.

He said he wants to get the word out that something is going on.

“Hopefully, when people find out they will want to take some kind of action,” Kaspar said.

He said most people do not understand what is going on in Darfur because everything is provided for them, especially people at TCU.

Van de Voorde teaches a class on political violence and her research is focused on genocide. She said she has always been involved in human rights and humanitarian law.

“This conflict is something I have taken to heart,” Van de Voorde said.

Jenica Gammie, a freshman nursing major, said she didn’t know much about Darfur, but she might look into it more because of the Global Days’ events.

“I think it is really interesting because it is not something you usually see on campus,” Gammie said.

She said it leads to curiosity which leads to asking questions. She was outside in the rain along with the Darfur tent raising money for Invisible Children, an organization that raises awareness about the displacement of children in Uganda.

These issues are important to her because students live in a global community and should raise awareness, Gammie said.

Global Days for Darfur lasts from April 23 to April 30. Along with Build-a-Camp, which will be displayed until April 28, TCU is also showing films, having a 5K walk and a moment of silence.

This week students may participate in the Take Action Ad Campaign in front of the library and Student Center. Here they may create advertisements about the Darfur genocide.

Students have plenty of opportunities to get involved such as participating in this weeks events as well as donating money, Van de Voorde said,

She said TCU is going to start a chapter of STAND. She said there are more than 800 chapters in high schools and colleges.