Give peace a chance

A year after the Sept. 11 attack, the University of Alaska Anchorage hopes to provide people with a place to go and the opportunity to express how they feel. Many reflective events will be held at UAA and around Anchorage to bring students and the community together.

‘We want to make sure as a staff that we are addressing all student needs, not just academic,’ Student Activities coordinator Beth Smart said.

Smart said various campus outlets, including the Campus Center, Campus Life, Resident Life, Student Health Center and Facility and Campus Services, joined to make the remembrance of Sept. 11 possible. Smart compiled a list of on and off campus places for students to go and talk about issues and concerns surrounding the tragedy. She said resources should be available to students seeking emotional counseling.

‘Becoming a Peacemaker: Searching for A Legacy of Peace’ is one place for students to go, to be held in the Commons, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Wednesday, sponsored by the Alaska Dispute Settlement Association.

‘I hope people will listen, ask questions and engage in dialogue with others that come,’ Mia Oxley, president of ADSA, said.

People who arrive at the beginning of the conference will help generate topics explored for the remainder of the day. The discussions will use a method called Open Space Technology, used by over 60 countries for strategic planning and creating peaceful solutions. OST, also known as organized chaos, combines ideas people are passionate about with responsible courses of action.

Oxley said she looks forward to hearing the array of things that matter to people and expects to explore how people feel about peace. ‘Legacy of Peace’ hopes to bring a group of people together to minimize the amount of structure and maximize the amount of exploration.

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Conference coordinator Krista Scully says the event will not be like going to class. ‘Legacy of Peace’ will host up to 30 simultaneous conversations based on the topics determined in the morning. Participants are encouraged to come early and help decide on topics and use what Scully referred to as the law of two feet: If you don”t fit into a conversation, get up and join another.

‘Organized chaos becomes a self-organized individual gathering,’ Scully said. ‘The agenda and conversation are shaped by the attendants.’

Scully compares the dynamic of conversation to butterflies and bumblebees. She expects both butterflies and bumblebees to be present at the Sept. 11 dialogue. Butterflies, Scully said, are more introverted and quiet but are highly participatory through active and attentive listening. Bumblebees will be the ones who buzz around and cross-pollinate thoughts to different circles.

A participation fee of two nonperishable food items or a small cash donation for the Alaska Food Bank or the UAA Student Food Cupboard is expected upon admittance. Food will also be available in the Commons Cafeteria for $8.75. Space in the conference is limited to 100.

‘I hope to see it fill up and hope not to turn any one away,’ Oxley said.