Club Focus--Students for a Peaceful Response

Drawing largely from a pool of Western Massachusetts Global Action Coalition (WMGAC) members, SPR rapidly formed and became official on Sunday, September 16.

The Amherst chapter held a rally outside the Campus Center last Thursday at noon, a universal time designated by student activists at UC Berkeley and agreed upon by over 100 other colleges nationwide. Students poignantly expressed their grief and confusion and spoke passionately about the five elements of the group’s mission. A march to the War Memorial was accompanied by loud chants to the rhythm of beating drums.

Michelle Oliveros-Larsen ’02 learned of this unique Five-College partnership from classmate Kate Levin ’02, and has been one of many driving forces behind the group’s early activity. “SPR is, in a lot of ways, about students who are learning to educate themselves, to become their own teachers,” she said. Aware of the possibility of war in the very near future, the group created letters to be signed by students and sent to their elected representatives. They quickly gathered signatures and matched student’s home ZIP codes with the relevant Congress members. Other self-produced materials include a “Point-Counterpoint” outline covering responses to questions most frequently posed by their pro-war opposition.

“We believe that truth-gathering is a process that necessitates action. That’s a revolution all its own,” said Oliveros-Larsen.

-Bob Razavi