Gun laws and gun violence have become frequently debated topics amid the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This occurrence has sparked an upcoming event in Washington D.C. called “March For Our Lives.” The SNHU Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) is providing SNHU students with the opportunity to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The march, taking place on March 24, was organized by survivors of the shooting. “Some of the students who were survivors of the shooting felt like enough was enough and that they couldn’t count on their elected representatives to do the right thing without getting involved,” said Elizabeth Richards, director of CCEL. Among the primary missions of the march is to push the formulation of a thorough and effective bill that directly addresses gun violence.

President Paul LeBlanc sparked interest in the event among SNHU faculty by asking if students would be interested in getting involved. Richards teamed up with Gavin Telfer, director of the Office of Student Involvement, to see if any students expressed interest in planning a trip to D.C. to participate in the March. “We put some feelers out to student leaders who work in Community Engaged Learning, Office of Diversity Programs and the Deborah Coffin Women’s Center. It just said ‘who might be interested in planning this?’ and 22 students responded,” said Richards

Students will be leaving SNHU on Friday, March 23 via two large buses and will arrive in D.C. late Friday night. The group will participate in the march on Saturday before departing at 4 p.m. and returning to campus by about 2 a.m. Sunday morning. SNHU is covering all costs associated with the trip except meals.

The deadline to sign up is Friday, March 9 and there are currently about 15 spots left.

Madeleine Frisella (’20) is an education major who is among the many students taking part in the march. She is optimistic about the experience she will gain. “I hope to gain that almost intrinsic goal of having a small impact… Someday, I’ll be able to look back on this when I’m a teacher. I hope to learn a lot from the people I meet there.”

The central march takes place in Washington D.C. but numerous “sibling marches” are being held across the nation and abroad. There are 488 marches taking place on March 24, all with the same goal of ending gun violence and mass shootings in schools. For those unable to trek out to the U.S. capital, over two dozen marches are to be held in New England, including three in New Hampshire.

The organizers of March For Our Lives possess the fundamental belief that no child should fear entering a school.

“Because this is a student-led national movement, it only makes sense to provide students an opportunity to participate,” said Richards. “What I hope students come away with is that their voice does matter…and that being civically engaged is valuable.”

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