Students find a peace of mind

Many students are looking for peaceful ways to express their feelings about current events.

Numerous student groups are organizing to help each other cope and understand the current state of our world.

One place to start is at the photo exhibit “Where’s Afghanistan” in the Koinoinia House on campus.

The pictures depict many images of children, women and men who are all refugees from Afghanistan.

“I have seen people weeping at the pictures in front of them,” said Reverend Chris Laing, Episcopal and Lutheran Chaplain at the Koinoinia House.

In the midst of all the pictures is a little sign that tells about the millions of refugees that fled to Pakistan in Nov. of 1983. Millions of those refugees continue to live in the refugee camps on the Pakistan border. One third of the Afghanistan population has fled the country since 1979.

The photographer is Judith Mann. Donation proceeds go towards Widows and Orphans Camp in Pakistan. The exhibit is free and open to the public until Oct. 27

On campus there are other efforts to respond to the needs of students in the wake of recent events. A “joint reflective response group” with Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS), Student Development and the Koinoinia House was established. The group meets Wednesdays at noon in the Portland Room of Smith Memorial Center. Laing said the meetings allow time for a short reflection and then moments of silence.

“We have a place where people encounter the ‘other’ and find themselves within the ‘other,'” Laing said.

Laing said the Koinoinia House tries to practice hospitality. He wants the space to be a place where people are allowed to express their hearts. Many interfaith discussions are held here.

Laing said the Koinoinia house offers a place for people to grieve. In addition to offering a place to grieve, people also have place to sit, think, chat with other people and to pray.

“We want to challenge students to do something constructive for the well-being of the community,” Laing said.

A group with a working title called Oregon Interfaith is also in the process of being created. Laing said what is special about this group is that a great deal of the communication for the project is coming from the Muslim community.

“Our lives are bound together whether we are aware of it or not,” Laing said.

Many campuses, such as the University of Oregon, are doing other things to promote peace, such as protests and teach-ins.