The “Tents of Hope” project became a symbol of hope in my community as my group of 5 students created a canvas tent used to create awareness and promote change. My Intercultural Communications professor Tina Kistler and the 35 students from my class in Fall 2008 offered a strong support system as we worked together to raise campus wide and community awareness about genocide in Sudan and Rwanda.
The fundamentals of teamwork and leadership were used as each member of the group planned together and then did our part of the process. Creating a tent took research and time. We needed to buy materials, like PVC pipe and paint and had to create a schedule to accomplish our goals. We decorated the tent and created posters that gave information about the genocide. The group worked well together as we collaborated with one another to use all of our strengths. We set up the tent at the Santa Barbara City College Luria Library and transformed the foyer into an information center about Sudan and Rwanda. This tent was able to raise awareness about intercultural and global issues in an artistic way. The tent allowed a nonverbal communication method that acted as a symbol of helping the voice of the unheard in Africa.
Our goal was to raise community awareness through a notable attraction and be prepared with answers to questions about the current genocide situation. The tent was a success as many students and teachers took a moment to stop and view the images of hope on our tent. The packets of information helped viewers understand the significance of the tent. We broaden our original plan of Darfur, Sudan to include Rwanda because the genocide issue is unfortunately far reaching and all of these areas need acknowledgment. Personally, I gained a sense of reflection and better understanding of how people can help one another anywhere in the world.
A new sense of community awareness was achieved as I observed people taking time to read a poster and look at the tent. Hopefully the message was strong and allowed people contemplate the happenings today in Sudan and Rwanda. The tent was successful in portraying positive images of hope and peace. Hopefully passing on knowledge and information about these horrific events will cause others to become involved and take action. Positive support from students, professors was an encouraging outcome toward creating global change.