At 7 p.m. every Thursday the "Anti-War Group" (working name) meets in Welles Hall. The main purpose of this group is to get the student body thinking about the war that the United States is in, and to educate them about it.
The group has only had four meetings but already they've made their mark on the Geneseo campus and student population. After only three meetings, they helped in the peace vigil on Main Street on Monday, March 19. With only one day to spread awareness about the event, they still helped to make it the biggest vigil in Geneseo's history.
This group was originally thought of by sophomores Julian Fenn and Noah Dreiblatt and junior Colin Waters when they were driving back from a protest in Washington D.C. in January. They realized how student activist groups on campus were fleeting and they were tired of the apathy that they feel students seemed to show towards the war. They want to see students start caring about the war. "Our biggest goal is to change the apolitical stance of the college," Dreiblatt stated. "I'm tired of seeing all this apathy towards the war, people need to start caring," he said.
"We want to raise awareness," said Fenn. "People should care about what our government is doing. We want them to think about the fact that we're at war every day, we want them to see it and be reminded of it every day. More and more people are getting tired of being in this war, it's no longer something that only liberals are opposed to."
The group isn't trying to rally just liberals. More than anything they want people to know the facts no matter what political stance they choose to take. They want students to do more than have opinions about the war but to actually do something about it. It's about taking a stand, no matter what the stand maybe. They don't all necessarily have the same opinions on all wars, past or present, but they said that they are trying to inform the student body about the facts of the war the United States is currently in. Members want students to form individual opinions about war with a factual basis.
"I want people to become more educated about the war. I know that there are things I don't know about the war, and things others don't know about it either," Fenn said at a meeting last week. More than anything the group's goal is to get people to think about the war and to learn more about it. "People need to know the facts and we need to get those facts across to them."
Everyone in the group has lots of ideas that will raise awareness. Flyers may start showing up around campus, and there are talks of a board that shows the number of casualties for both the Americans and Iraqis. A movie marathon may be in the works as well, but they want another big event to really get their point across. This group is about action as well as awareness: letters are being written to New York senators by the group as well.
"The more people we can get to come and join the better," said Dreiblatt. "Anyone with any interest should come to the meetings, those who are willing to take action or want to march or just do something to raise awareness."
Fenn added, "Either way, if we do or don't, at least this will raise some sort of knowledge about everything happening."