Thanks to the grand efforts of the student and faculty who operated Kean University's Center of Leadership and Service, all who were on campus Monday, September 13th, were invited to remember 9/11 through a day full of events, encouraging everyone present to become involved with their fellow Kean body to pay tribute together.
Just nine years into the wake of our nation's most grievous event, recalling September 11th this past month has felt just as emotional as it has been every year since.
In honor of President Obama officially establishing September 11th as a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009, Kean-goers had opportunities to participate in various service activities around campus, focusing on humanity and the importance of spreading good deeds.
The on-campus events, which began before noon on Monday, September 13th, were open to all, and were extremely emotional. The University Center Atrium was a one-stop area for various options of ways that people can help out their community. Attendees could be exorbitantly charitable and register with the DKMS Bone Marrow Donor Services, the NJ and Sharing Network Organ Donation Network,and they could sign-up for the trusty Campus Alert system, if they had not done so previously.
Likewise in the spirit of philanthropy, the New Jersey Blood Services held a donation drive in Downs Hall, accepting blood and platelets donations. Also, members of the Kean Service Corps ran a table encouraging humanity and goodwill towards neighbors. Participants could write down something nice that they had done for another person and be awarded with an official "Do a Good Deed" sticker, worn to hopefully encourage others to do the same.
The events closed with a truly heartfelt Interfaith Vigil at 4:30 pm. The large crowd of observers shared a passionate presence while collecting from the Kean clock tower in procession to the 9/11 Memorial Mountain in Townsend Courtyard. Here, they embodying all walks of life, stood together, prayed, and reminisced upon the horrors of that ominous day, while in unison looking towards the future.
Leading the walk, as directed by Mr. Mike Mazzlo, U.S. Military officer, was a band of local police officers, military officers, firefighters and steelworkers, all of whom were first-responders to the Twin Towers attacks. The vigil was conducted by three spiritual leaders of different religious affiliations; Father Thomas Blind, Imam Hamad Ahmad Chebli, and Rabbi Steven Bayer, each of whom recited one of their respective prayers. At the closing of the service, Mr. Mazzlo too, shared with the crowd some wisdom, in the form of an original poem entitled "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow." Throughout the mass of people, emotions were surfacing and
there was a collective heavy feeling, possibly channeled through to the weight that many in attendance were feeling below their eyes while observing.
Kean Service Corps representative Iliana Jimenez helped coordinate the services and events.
"We plan lots of events throughout the year to help out the community," she explained, "like food drives and blood banks, and fund raisers."
The idea is to encourage Kean cougars to help out the less fortunate. "The next big thing is our "Homelessness Week,' which will take place around Thanksgiving and all profits go to charity." Ms. Jimenez is hoping to organize more art and creativity- related events, like possibly holding an art auction featuring original work from Kean students. All the monetary income will be given to charity and it would be a good showcase for our talented student artists.
For further information, you can visit the Center for Leadership and Service at http://kean.collegiatelink.net, or visit the center in room 219 of the University Center.