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‘Peace’ comes to USF

To promote community, peace and knowledge, a student organization is hosting a weeklong event that will feature guest speakers and workshops.

Starting Monday, Peace @ Large, a non-religious organization that aims to promote a peaceful world environment, will be hosting Peace Week. One aspect the organization hopes to continue beyond Peace Week is BYOK: Bring Your Own Knowledge.

BYOK is a clinic and workshop based on sharing knowledge and educating one another, said Kate Shafer, community organizer for Peace @ Large.

“If we all share what knowledge we have, then we all understand each other’s perspective and fortify our knowledge,” said Shafer, a sophomore fine arts major. “We’re hoping to have a variety of things depending on what people want to sign up for and teach.”

For Peace Week, BYOK offers a community cook night during which participants teach others how to make foods from different cultures, Shafer said. The student teaching the preparation also discusses the history behind the dish and the culture of the dish’s origin.

“When I think of community, I think of people cooking together,” she said. “Community cook night is an attempt at getting some sort of holistic learning.”

USF’s BYOK event was inspired by a university in Mexico where the students met for an event to share knowledge and build communities in an unstructured way, President of Peace @ Large James Hudson said. Peace @ Large plans to host BYOK monthly.

The idea has spread to other Florida universities.

“One of my friends from Tallahassee has jumped on the bandwagon and started their own BYOK at FSU,” Shafer said.

BYOK is Friday, Oct. 3, at Crosswinds on Sycamore Drive. Students interested in teaching at the upcoming community cooking event or future cooking events are invited to contact Hudson at to interview for the opportunity.

Additionally, Peace Week will include seminars from different speakers. They will address a variety of topics from torture to nuclear weapons.

Dr. Donald L. Mellman, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibilities, works as a community liaison for Peace @ Large and has secured two speakers for Peace Week: Nathaniel Raymond and Dr. Ira Helfand. Mellman said he hopes the seminars will increase student awareness about physician involvement in human torture.

“Torture is ineffective and is inappropriate on every level and as such there is always physician involvement, either in creating the torture or where they keep them from dying,” he said. “There’s really no justification for physicians to be involved either in the creation of torture or maintaining the victim for further torture.”

Raymond will address physician involvement in human torture 7 p.m. Monday in the Marshall Student Center, room 3707. Helfand will discuss the threat of nuclear weapons during her seminar Thursday in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.

Vice President of Peace @ Large Jessie Barber said he hopes Peace Week will create a stronger sense of community at USF “and, in turn, reduce alienation in the community and reduce potential for violence.”