Rhonda Sobh, a freshman majoring in biomedical sciences, noticed that many students at USF didn’t know much about her home country, Lebanon. She wanted to change that.
On Monday, Sobh and other students from multicultural organizations such as the Latin American Student Association (LASA), Cuban American Student Association (CASA), Students in Solidarity with Syria (SSS) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) joined together and set up tables for “Revolution Day,” an event in the Marshall Student Center amphitheater, designed to educate students about the revolutions and conflict currently taking place in countries all over the world.
“What the media has been doing is dramatizing and changing around what’s opposite,” Sobh said. “So the real facts aren’t being told.”
The organizations participating, she said, had the ability and responsibility to inform students of events taking place that they would not otherwise hear about.
Students walked around the Marshall Student Center amphitheater and heard presentations about nations such as Venezuela, Cuba, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria, collecting stamps from each display station on their mock passports. Once the passport was filled, students were invited to receive free food from the event sponsors.
In regards to Lebanon, Sobh said many Syrian refugees have been flooding into Lebanon for safety.
“I’m from Lebanon, but Syria is our neighboring country so I obviously care a lot about what is going on over there,” Sobh said. “We all came here and there were all these different clubs … no one else was really sure what was going on, so we decided to raise awareness.”
Masiel Pelegrino, a junior studying political science and vice president of CASA, said the idea for the event originated after various organizations involved expressed a desire to showcase the conflicts occurring in various parts of the world, and inform students of the situations taking place in other countries.
“I think it is a very educational event and people should be educated on different countries around the world,” Pelegrino said. “We’ve had a pretty good response (to the event). People have been interested (in revolutions occurring all over the world), and they’ve been asking questions and engaging in conversation.”
Yanil Munoz, a sophomore majoring in communication with a concentration in public advocacy, presented for LASA.
“I think a lot of people either know a lot about it or don’t know anything and most who don’t know anything don’t even realize how many Latin American countries there are,” Munoz said. “Or realize that Brazil does not even speak Spanish.”
Munoz said she thinks it is important for students to be aware of what is happening in other cultures and countries.
“Unfortunately, I think that unless you are a history major or an international studies major, you don’t really learn that much about other countries,” she said.
Students reacted positively and were engaged in the different stories presented at each display. Alie Hayans, a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing, said she enjoyed the ambiance of the event.
“It is very educational,” Hayans said. “It is a bunch of posters with information about different events. They should do events like this in the future, it gets more people involved in the school.”
Hannas Zanon, a freshman majoring in biology, operated a display for Tunisia and said she noticed students were interested in what she was told them about the Tunisian revolution.
“I have had people come up to us and say ‘Oh, I didn’t even know that is happening,’” she said. “It is happening right now. We can all go learn and study it, but people don’t, so we have to bring the information to them so they can understand. It is not that they don’t care, it’s that they don’t know and we need to educate them.”