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Freshman leaders focus on modern-day genocide in community awareness project

Thursday, February 28, 2008

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Media Contact: Susan Slupecki

Freshman leaders at The University of Texas at Arlington are working to call attention to the crisis in Darfur with a month-long set of programs from March 3 to April 3.

The group Freshman Leaders On Campus (FLOC) has designed the set of programs to parallel the history of the Darfur crisis, which commenced in March 2003 when fighting broke out in the Darfur regions of western Sudan. The April programming corresponds with the April 2003 time period when refugees began arriving in Chad to escape the conflict and became internally displaced persons.

The goal of the month-long event, which will include related events, such as a documentary film screening, panel discussion, service projects and a gallery display—are two fold: Education (“Give people hope, ask me how”) and Action (“Now you know; what will you do?”).

The inspiration for the programming came from this year’s OneBook theme: prejudice. OneBook is a program for all UT Arlington freshmen, who will study, discuss, and write about the same book in their first semester English composition classes, freshman seminars, and selected other classes. FLOC wanted to bring to light a contemporary instance of prejudice to aid students in understanding how to confront these challenges in their own world and take action.

The month-long event commences at 7 p.m., March 3, in room 100 of Nedderman Hall, 416 S. Yates St., with a documentary film screening of The Devil Came On Horseback—an award-winning 90-minute documentary film that exposes the tragedy taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness, former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle.

Other events include:

UC Gallery Display
March 3 to March 14
E. H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St.
The UC gallery display will include photos with accompanying descriptions, letters and drawings by children in Camp Gaga in Chad, works of art from HOPE Artists—HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere).

Service Projects

  • Tents of Hope March 3 through April, 2008
    The U T Arlington community, including student organizations and University departments, will join in painting a Tent of Hope on March 10, 11, 12, 25, 26 and 27 on the E. H. Hereford University Center Mall, 300 W. First St.. The mission of the Tents of Hope project is to support a one-year process in which people respond as communities to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. These tents are unique works of art, help build community and establish relationships with the people of Sudan. The UT Arlington Tent of Hope will be included in the tents displayed on the Mall in Washington DC in October 2008, with other tents from communities around the country. Eighty-nine cities, including San Antonio and Austin, currently have Tents of Hope projects in progress.
  • Literacy Project for Camp Gaga, sponsored by Phi Kappa Phi, the nation¹s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.
  • Fundraising efforts by way of t-shirt sales, as well as a drawing…all to benefit Global Grassroots, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that utilizes consciousness practices, social entrepreneurship training and seed funding to help women victims of conflict and genocide launch their own ideas for social change. The drawing prizes among other items include artwork from HOPE artists and a signed DVD set by Spike Lee.

Panel Discussion
April 3, 7 p.m.
Room 100, Nedderman Hall, 416 S. Yates. St.
The Panel will be moderated by Dr. Rick Halperin, director of the human tights department at SMU. Panelists will include Dr. Alusine Jalloh, director of the Africa Program at UT Arlington, Victoria Smith, a human rights activist who has worked in Chad refugee camps twice during the past year and Ismail Abrahim, a refugee from Darfur.

FLOC was founded at The University of Texas at Arlington in the fall of 2002. The mission of FLOC is to promote member involvement in student governance and community service, preparing students for active participation throughout their years at UT Arlington. FLOC provides great opportunities to make friends and to interact with varying aspects of University life. Members of FLOC quickly get involved in the University through networking with campus leaders, collaborating with other organizations and further developing leadership skills.

Call Molly Alfers at (817) 272-2293 or e-mail,, for more information.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.