Mercy Week events to raise awareness about Sudan

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The events of Mercyhurst College’s annual Mercy Week are planned to raise awareness about the college’s Mercy heritage and the current plight of southern Sudan, where one quarter of the displaced population of the world currently lives.

Mercyhurst will celebrate its annual Mercy Week from Saturday, March 20, through Friday, March 26.

This year’s theme is “We are Globally Responsible.”

The Mission Integration office and many departments across campus, including academics, athletics and student life, collaborated to organize the weeklong event.

Donations generated from these events will largely benefit this year’s majority charity, Mercy Beyond Borders.

The most ambitious of the planned activities may be the “Cycling to Sudan Challenge.” Participants can log miles on exercise bikes, elliptical machines, rowing machines and treadmills in order to “travel” the 7,233 miles from Erie to Narus, Sudan.

Students and employees will collect pledges on Thursday, March 25, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the dance room of the Rec Center to support Mercy Beyond Borders in southern Sudan.

Participants of the 200-Mile or 300-Mile Challenges can help raise money for the project while counting miles for their challenge.

Other ongoing events include core value banners in Garvey Park, a Mercy Display in the Hammermill Library, Mercy Week Films in the Student Union and a photo exhibit of southern Sudan by photographer Paul Jeffrey.

Some faculty members will integrate short poems and other pieces about the theme of Mercy Week into classroom discussions.

The Mercy Week kickoff, “Breakfast in California, Lunch at Mercyhurst, Dinner in Ireland: A Global Q&A with the Sisters of Mercy,” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Mercy Heritage Room on Monday, March 22. Using Skype live video, participants can connect with students, faculty and Sisters of Mercy in Ireland and California.

On Tuesday, March 23, Mercyhurst Student Government will host Raymond Ablack, an activist on worldwide poverty who once played Simba in the stage production of “The Lion King” in Toronto and Sav Bhandari in the popular television series, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

On Wednesday, March 24, a luncheon celebrating Women’s History Month will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Herrmann Student Union Great Room. Multiple presentations will feature issues such as nonviolence and the fundamental right to water.

On Friday, March 26, there will be a Wellness Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Herrmann Student Union and a UNIFEST Battle of the Bands from 8 to 11 p.m.

In addition, a 24-Hour Fast will be observed from 5 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday. Those not participating in the day-long fast are encouraged to skip a meal on Friday and donate the money. All proceeds will benefit Haiti Relief.

The theme of Mercy Week 2010 reflects the Mercyhurst core value of global responsibility while offering students and faculty a chance to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized citizens of southern Sudan.

In keeping with the Mercy tradition, seize the day, and get involved.