Two students at Hobart and William Smith are closing in on their goal of sending 1,000 origami cranes to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
(Dec. 1, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y. — The assignment: create a public display of peace. The students in Hobart and William Smith Colleges Professor Betty Bayer's “Topics in Sociology: Peace” class were given free rein to decide what form the displays would take.
Students Jennifer Davenport of Fulton, N.Y., and Mokoto Hioki of Nogoya, Japan, decided to use the Japanese symbol of peace, the crane, as their focus to raise awareness of peace among students of all ages.
The crane symbol comes from the story of Sadako — a young Japanese girl who survived the atomic blasts of World War II only to suffer from leukemia a few years later. She was told that if she created 1,000 origami cranes she would have her wish of good health granted. Unfortunately she died before completing her task, but the story spread and the crane then became a symbol of peace. There is a memorial to Sadako in Hiroshima where people send thousands of paper cranes to honor or memorialize someone.
The HWS cranes, currently numbering 900, will be sent to the memorial when there is a full compliment, but are now on display in the atrium of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Colleges campus today and tomorrow, Dec. 1 and 2.
In addition to the cranes, Davenport and Hioki wanted to collect images of peace from young people at different stages in their lives. They went to Mrs. McClure's 2nd grade class at West St. School and Ms. Placa's 8th grade music class at Geneva Middle School and explained their project, told the story of Sadako and had the students make cranes, then played John Lennon's peace anthem “Imagine” and asked students to draw what peace would look like to them.
Similarly, Davenport, who is an education major and completing her teaching practicum in the 5th grade at Lafayette School in Waterloo, had her students participate.
To recruit help from the HWS community, they visited classes, set up a table outside of the Colleges dining hall and even asked guest lecturers to participate.
Davenport and Hioki received a $300 grant from the Young Memorial Trust Fund with the help of Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter to pay for the origami paper and the postage for mailing the cranes to Japan.