A campus-wide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Wednesday, one year after the first American Airlines airplane hit the World Trade Center, will start a day of September 11 commemorative events amidst the regular buzz of students attending class.
Performances, panels, services, vigils and discussions will take place throughout the day. The events were planned by a team of 11 student leaders and University Events staff.
The largest campus-wide activity is an “open microphone” at Kogan Plaza from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Jessica Carlson, assistant director of University Events. She said students will share thoughts and experiences and perform music during this time and 180 student volunteers will also read the names of the approximately 3,000 people who were killed.
“The fact that it takes eight hours to read all of the names makes you realize the enormity of what happened,” said Student Association Vice President of Community Affairs Alice Lingo, who was in charge of publicity for the events and organized the vigil.
The day will conclude with a candlelight vigil on the Quad at 10 p.m., like last year’s on Sept. 12. More than 2,000 students participated in last year’s vigil.
The freshman Living and Learning Community titled Community Activism and Rewarding Experiences planned the event, said Matthew Porter, CLLC assistant director of freshman services.
Lingo said the vigil is dedicated to the seven GW alumni lost in the attacks, and that Orde Kitrey, special assistant to the Secretary of State, will speak.
Students involved in the planning said they “put aside their differences” and banded together to plan a line-up of special activities.
“(Program Board) looks to put our name on everything, but on this (day) we didn’t want it to be a PB event, or a Student Association event,” PB Executive Chair Bryan Gless said. “(Organizations) weren’t out there to get recognition to their groups, just to do something good for students.”
Lingo said she joined the committee to “involve the entire community in the day’s plan.”
“Students are the ones who need the day of remembrance in order to heal,” Lingo said. “Students know what students need for today.”
Officials asked for input because they wanted to “support the efforts of the students in what they want to do,” Carlson said.
Nineteen panels and faculty-led discussions will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Themes include the “Media and September 11, Diversity and Tolerance,” “Culture, Religion and Ethnicity; National Security” and “Terrorism and the Legal aftermath of September 11.”
Students said they think the diversity and tolerance lectures will complement their different backgrounds.
SA President Phil Robinson called the lecture a “step in the right direction” but said the University needs “to constantly have smaller events” to promote tolerance.
He also noted his recent executive order to create a Diversity Affairs Committee, which will focus on improving interracial and faith campus relations.
Wednesday’s events continue into the evening with the Jewish Student Association’s memorial at 7 p.m. in Kogan Plaza. The service, which will include student-read excerpts from scripture and psalms, is a “way for us to come together as religious community,” said JSA President Jonah Zinn.
Zinn said he expects the ceremony to be “brief but meaningful.”
The Kalb Report, with guests including Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will be held at 8 p.m. at the National Press Club.
The show, “Politics, Morality and the Media in the Age of Terrorism,” will feature discussions about what Americans have learned and how they have changed over the past year and a look to the future.
Most students said they are looking forward to the day’s events as a time of remembrance and thought.
“I think the speakers are a good idea,” sophomore Kimberly Ruht said. “I like the candlelight vigil because it ties (the events) to last year.”
“I think that it should be a day of personal mourning,” sophomore Kara Kantar said.
Other changes for the day include flags hanging at half-mast and tolling bells.
A self-guided Reuters photo exhibit will also be open Sept. 9- 13 in the Marvin Center.