Christy Oxendine recalled looking at one of her international students’ Facebook page and reading the information he had shared about an attack in home country of Egypt.
On November 24, 2016, a mosque in Sinai, Egypt was bombed, killing 306 civilians in the mosque.
Oxendine noticed that there wasn’t much coverage in the United States about the attack and most people weren’t aware of what happened.
“I was just thinking ‘what can I do’,” Oxendine said.
Oxendine spoke with the student and came up with organizing the event as a safe space for the students affected, to remember those who were killed and to bring awareness of violence due to differences happening in the world.
The I Promise 305 event occurred outside of Parks Library in the Agora Tuesday afternoon.
A table was placed outside the doors to Parks Library and caught the attention of many students walking into and out of the library.
Besides the buttons and carnations on the table, Oxendine had on a large display of the Egyptian flag and smaller displays of flags of nations that Oxendine said she had read that recently had violence occur in their nation.
A few international students would approach the table as they saw their home country’s flag on the table.
Oxendine had 305 buttons made and ordered 305 white carnations for the event. Both items were to represent the lives lost during the attack.
Oxendine said that she selected a carnation because of its longevity, she also said that she asked her student which color of the carnations was most suitable. The two agreed on the color white.
“The original idea was to take a flower and make a promise,” Oxendine said. “This is done to get people thinking and more aware with what’s going on in the world.”
Oxendine said that there was a mix of students, faculty and staff that stopped at the table. She said that the response of the table were positive from people.
“There were some people who weren’t aware of that there was a bombing in Egypt,” Oxendine said.
Suzanne Harle, an international student support adviser with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was one of the few faculty and staff that signed up and helped Oxendine with the event.
Harle said that she sees an importance in supporting all students at Iowa State.
“I believe in the idea to know what is going on in our world and look at what impact Iowa State can have,” Harle said.
In the College of Liberal Arts and Science there are about 400 international students in undergraduate studies compared to the 848 international students in the College of Engineering.
Harle said that all staff that work with international students to attempt to stay connected and make people more aware of things involving international students going on on campus.
Oxendine said that she hopes to continue having events pertaining to international students and have another event next semester.
“I hope to create a movement from this involving students and faculty and staff,” Oxendine said.
Harle said that she support the idea of continuing having more events and having a campus movement.
“I’m interested in supporting student initiatives,” Harle said.