A Fast Way to Gain Awareness

Students willingly gave up candy, soda and other daily indulgences on Wednesday in an effort to promote awareness for the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The event, known as Darfur Fast, was sponsored by Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, also known as STAND, an anti-genocide coalition that works as the student arm of the Genocide Intervention Network.

“For something like Darfur Fast, it’s such a little easy thing to do that if you really get the whole campus to get a lot of support, it can really make a difference without asking a lot of people,” said Parisa Tabassian (SFS ’11), president of the Georgetown chapter of STAND.

Besides giving up an item of their choice, students in STAND also worked to raise money to provide aid for refugees from Darfur.

Though the figures are not final, Tabassian estimates that STAND raised about $1500, three times more than last year’s Darfur Fast.

STAND will publicize the exact amount after they finalize the numbers.

For Tabassian, choosing to give something up for a day is just as important as raising money.

“It’s a symbolic gesture of solidarity with people who are in refugee camps and in Darfur who have nothing day in and day out,” she said. “If you can give up that one item of luxury, you’re showing you care and it adds up.”

STAND’s goal for the fast was to increase participation and reach as many people as possible. Though Tabassian is unsure of the precise amount of students who participated in Darfur Fast, she said it was significantly more than last year. She added that STAND worked hard to improve the planning and publicity of this year’s fast, expanding the scope of the event to the wider Georgetown community, especially the faculty.

In addition to the fast, STAND hosts a Darfur Feast every spring to showcase the traditions of Sudan and to identify the culture with something besides the genocide.

“We try to make it a celebratory event to remind people that things will get better if we stay strong,” Tabassian said.

– Katie Kettle

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.