by Amanda Jones
The Breeze (James Madison University)
The OrangeBand Initiative will be recruiting new members and organizations to join its movement in the next two weeks.
OrangeBand is a nonpartisan group that seeks to bring awareness to various issues so that students can develop informed opinions and become more involved in decision-making processes.
“The point is to begin to be aware, to educate yourself and become engaged in your surrounding community and the world,” said senior Amber Lautigar, head of the OrangeBand advertising committee.
OrangeBand is working with, and still seeking, several organizations to present discussion forums about diversity at JMU, health care in the United States, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
More than 4,000 orange bands and schedules will be handed out today and tomorrow on the commons from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to encourage involvement.
“People can take a band to represent an issue they feel is important to raise awareness about,” said Kai Degner (’03), OrangeBand president. “Then, when someone asks, ‘What’s your orange band,’ you can make them aware of what your issue is.”
Organizations work with OrangeBand by reserving a room and sponsoring a speaker, panel or video. OrangeBand will help promote the event and help ensure different perspectives are presented at the forum, as well as organizing a discussion for students.
Americans for Informed Democracy, a nonpartisan organization, which seeks to bring awareness to American foreign policy and anti-American sentiments, is working with OrangeBand to present discussions about the involvement of the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Since both organizations have similar goals to inform and spark dialogue, it made sense to collaborate efforts to increase resources and reach out to a greater public,” said senior Kevin Melton, AID’s vice president of events.
One of the events scheduled with AID for the next two weeks will be showing a video entitled “Why U.S.?” which will discuss why the Arab world has such strong feelings against the United States.
The What Color is Your Class group also is working with OrangeBand to promote discussion about diversity at JMU.
Members of WCIYC believe that the lack of minorities prevents the fulfillment of JMU’s mission to help students become educated and enlightened citizens. The group will hold forums with OrangeBand to promote discussion about affirmative action and the enrollment process at JMU.
Four JMU seniors started the OrangeBand Initiative in February to encourage discussion about the war in Iraq. The group currently has a staff of 12 and around 280 members on its mailing list, according to Degner.
While OrangeBand focuses on issues of diversity, health care and Middle Eastern conflict this semester, three new issues will be selected and addressed next semester.
Members of OrangeBand also hope to spread the organization to other universities next semester, according to Degner. OrangeBand also is trying to determine whether to become a nonprofit or a student organization through JMU, and will make its final decision next semester, according to Degner.
A forum to discuss OrangeBand and its issues tentatively is scheduled for Nov. 14. To find out more about OrangeBand and its events, visit its Web site at www.orangeband.org.
For organizations to become involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The amount of things going on in the world around us today is overwhelming,” Lautigar said. “But it’s crucial for us, as citizens, to be involved and paying attention, no matter what the subject matter.”