Students volunteer to remember Sept. 11

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This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As a way to remember, President Obama signed legislation that established Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement sponsored a campus event to celebrate this national day.

“I knew that it really fit into the mission of our office as terms of serving the community, bringing people together, and kind of raising the consciousness of these local and national issues,” said director of CILCE Meghan Allen-Eliason.

In order for more students to attend the event, it wasn’t held on Friday, the anniversary day, but rather on Saturday. Nearly 50 students and community members with colored bags for Open Arms and Meals on Wheels in hand helped out a local library, or delivered bags in cooperation with a local food drive.

“People who don’t have anyone can just see that bag and it can brighten up their day,” participant Nick Kor said about coloring bags for Open Arms and Meals on Wheels.

CILCE wanted to make sure that everyone could participate in the volunteering activities.

“We were keeping it very simple and basic,” Allen-Eliason said. “We wanted to have a variety of projects that could accommodate people, and that would be in walking distance of campus that would serve our immediate community.”

Allen-Eliason said the idea of establishing Sept. 11 as a federally recognized day of service and remembrance was proposed in 2002 by a variety of Sept. 11 family members and support groups. But it wasn’t until seven years later that it became an official day.

CILCE said it hopes to continue this event in years to come to remind students of community togetherness and also of the selfless acts that occurred on that tragic day.

“Given that Sept. 11 is a nationally recognized day of service and remembrance, I’m hoping that we can do something each year in this and really kind of keep building and keep involving our community too,” Allen-Eliason said.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance was a good opportunity for participants, too.

“We were able to help each other out that day,” participant Vang Khang said. “It was really a great reminder that we can help each other out and give back to the community.”

Michael Ewen can be reached at