Taking a STAND

Samantha Karol

A new organization on campus wants to know: What do you stand for?

QU STAND is an anti-genocide student group that debuted at Quinnipiac last week. It is one of more than 600 high school and college chapters across the country that advocate to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

Lou D’Agostino, a freshman biomedical major from Marmora, N.J., is one of the founding members of the QU chapter of STAND. He is now one of two secretary generals on the executive board.

D’Agostino hopes QU STAND will help open the eyes of students. “If we could just change the minds of 10 students, 20 students, 100 students, 2,000 students, from the apathetic nature that everyone has here to a more empathetic feeling about what’s going on around the world [it would be worth it],” he said.

Ryan Delaney, a freshman from Burlington, Vt., and one of QU STAND’s Secretaries of Special Events, would like to see other students take the first step.

“I would love to see kids educate themselves [and] know what’s going on,” he said. “It’s not hard to watch the news for half-an-hour every night or read the newspaper. Just care, care about something. The only way this world is going to get better is if we actually care enough to do something about it.”

D’Agostino and Delaney acknowledge that they are idealists, but emphasize that they are going to put their ideas into action.

“It’s about individuals taking it upon themselves and that’s what we have to do and that’s what we’re going to do,” D’Agostino said.

The mission of QU STAND as stated on its Web site is “to get Quinnipiac students aware of major humanitarian issues around the world. QU is one of the most politically apathetic universities in the country. … It’s time we started caring about the world outside of our QU bubble.”

QU STAND members will be taking action today by holding a silent protest against the genocide in Darfur. The protesters will gather in the quad from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. and wear T-shirts that ask: “What do you stand for?” The members hope that the protest will get their peers’ attention and make them think.

“The students here are the ones who need to know because they’re the ones who care the least,” D’Agostino said.

On April 20, QU STAND will be sponsoring a trip to participate in the 12th Annual Get on the Bus event sponsored by Amnesty International. The group will travel to New York City for a day featuring human rights education and action, including speakers and demonstrations.

QU STAND hopes to spread the word about many different humanitarian issues. The genocide in Darfur is currently its primary focus.

More than two years and eight months have elapsed since the United States labeled Darfur a genocide.

“There’s no such thing as doing nothing,” D’Agostino said. “Either you’re letting genocide occur or you’re working to stop it. So even if you say ‘I’m just one person, I can’t do anything.’ . Eventually we want all the students here to join up with us and then we can give a message to the U.N. or the U.S. government. Then they will realize students do care.”

For more information about QU STAND, visit www.qustand.org.