Tuesday February 14, 2017

Students Living the Commitment to Community: Solidarity and Common Good

Recently, one of the principles of the Commitment to Community, solidarity and the common good, was given new meaning for the University of Dayton (UD). On Thursday, February 2, students, faculty and staff came together to take a stand, and show their support for their fellow peers.

Rob Alexander ’17 is the student who organized and promoted the Demonstration of Solidarity event. He is a fifth-year student and is an example of someone who embodies the spirit of UD, providing leadership and service to others. This demonstration was to show support to the members of the UD community from the seven countries affected by the recent Executive Order from the U.S. government. The event was open to all students, faculty and staff, and individuals were encouraged to share their stories to spread awareness of how they were impacted by the Executive Order. Rob hoped that through this demonstration, the students affected would see they have a community at UD that stands beside them with unconditional support.

Rob gathered his motivation to create this demonstration because most of his “friends are from the countries that were affected, as well as other staff and students on campus, so I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that there are people being affected by these changes.” Rob was impressed with the number of people that attended and participated, as well as students who stopped by during the class change to say thank you for leading the demonstration. He was especially honored that President Dr. Spina joined to display his support.

Rob was asked why he believed this student-led demonstration was so effective to spread awareness on campus. He expressed, “there are students on campus, who will see something in the news and because they don’t usually interact with people from different cultures, it is difficult for them to understand or connect to how their faculty or peers are being affected right now.” Those students could attend this demonstration and learn how the Executive Order impacts their peers, through their personal stories and concerns.

This student-led demonstration, Rob explains, was possible by researching the available resources on campus like student-led organizations and offices on campus. He emphasized the importance of planning an event like the Demonstration of Solidarity on a day where there is a lot of foot traffic from students on campus- moving from class to class. Rob offered his advice to his peers, “actions speak louder than words. If you are fed up by an issue and you feel like action needs to be taken, then do it yourself and give it your absolute all.”

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