Two members of the Bahai Club at Western Maryland College teamed up to win the third Griswold-Zepp Award in Voluntarism for their project to promote racial healing in the community.
The annual award -- named for two influential Western Maryland professors, Ira Zepp '52 and the late L. Earl Griswold -- enables students to pursue volunteer projects in the Westminster area.
Jeff Peveto '94, a mathematics and computer science major from Jacksonville, Fla., and Jodi Lankford '95, an art and art history and sociology major from Severna Park, plan to educate students at Western Maryland and Westminster High about the history of racism and racism's effect on whites and on blacks and other minorities.
They plan to approach the problem by helping students to develop an appreciation for racial differences as well as similarities.
"It's a really exciting project for outreach into the community on a topic of paramount importance in the quality of people's lives," said Dr. Julie Badiee, professor of art history and sponsor of the students' application for the award.
Before winning the award, Mr. Peveto and Ms. Lankford already had been actively involved in consciousness-raising events. With Dr. Badiee, their Bahai Club adviser, the students last year established a chapter of the Institute for the Healing of Racism, which is established on more than 100 U.S. college campuses. Also last spring they sponsored a "Healing Racism" workshop on campus.
This spring, they held two events: a viewing of the video "Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes" with discussion afterward and another "Healing Racism" workshop. Each of the events was attended by more than 100 people.
With the $1,250 provided by the Griswold-Zepp Award, they plan to develop a curriculum on healing racism for a future New Student Orientation topic.
In Carroll County high schools, beginning this fall, they also plan to offer "Healing Racism" workshops and provide "Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes" for viewing. They also plan to print and distribute 3,000 community pledge pamphlets for Carroll County Citizens for Racial Equality to an area high school.
The latter group has the goal of promoting racial equality and improving understanding in Carroll County through community networking, public education and advocacy of positive alternatives to hate-group activities.
Citizens for Racial Equality is endorsed by several Western Maryland professors and alumni, including Ms. Badiee, Rosemary Maxey (philosophy and religious studies), Norberto Valdez (sociology), Dr. Zepp (religious studies), Coleen Klasmeier '93, John Springer '81 and Gary Honeman '77.