By Krista Mobley, Ohio University STAND
On the rainy Tuesday evening of September 25th, ten members of Ohio University’s STAND chapter gathered to watch “Sudan and South Sudan 101: The Basics.” With some chocolate chip cookies and delicious zucchini bread in tow, we all met in our chapter leader’s self-proclaimed “man cave.” Aside from the discomfort that title invoked in some members, it ended up being a super successful bonding sesh for OU STAND.
The webinar’s purpose was to update its audience on the growing conflicts Sudan and South Sudan face by educating the viewers on the different situations brought on and exacerbated by their division. Our attention has shifted from solely Darfur in pre-two-state-Sudan, to many other conflict areas in both countries after their split, especially along the border. In Sudan, Darfur, Blue Nile State, South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains are three conflicts that grant primary concern. In South Sudan, the main concern is the violence taking place in the eastern Jonglei State. Resources like oil are still common drivers in these conflicts, followed by problems at the local-level, for example the proliferation of arms.
The webinar schooled us on the historical, socio-economic, environmental, and political factors influencing these ever-developing issues. The discussion of the various regions successfully provided a descriptive synopsis of everything from the inaccessibility of areas to NGOs to the marginalization of ethnic groups. A few technical malfunctions in the duration of the webinar provided us time to converse about the information, the familiar voices, and even the sweet poster décor of our chapter leader’s cave. Nearing the end of the webinar, we tweeted our questions for the brief and informative Q&A.
It was awesome to hang out with the STAND chapter outside of our weekly meetings. The event provided a nice reprieve from the daily grind of homework and exams galore. It was really simple too. We discussed the idea of watching the webinar together at our meeting. Make it a Facebook event and throw snacks into the mix, and people are unlikely to decline the invitation. It is such a small task but reaps major benefits. Having friendships with people in the organization allows for a greater sense of unity within the group.
And really, what can beat the combination of social events and social activism? I would be hard-pressed to find a better one!