Contributed by CARP NJIT, photos courtesy of CARP NJIT
On Friday, April 26, CARP NJIT hosted their first campus impact event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) with the theme, Family Relationships, to promote a culture of living for the sake of others. The main purpose of the event was to inspire students and faculty members to take initiative in their own families and communities to establish a positive family environment.
Around 70 participants gathered at the NJIT Campus Center Ballroom for the event. The attendees included NJIT students, faculty members, local community members, colleagues, and family members. The VIPs who attended the event were Dr. Marybeth Boger, the Dean of Students, and Jasmine Howard, an Academic Advisor.
To kick off the event, former CARP NJIT President, Takafumi Mashiko, served as the emcee and introduced the “Change Starts With Me” event with a short introductory video on CARP. He also explained the significance of CARP and bridged CARP’s endeavors to the rest of the program.
CARP NJIT had the honor to welcome Dr. Marybeth Boger, the Dean of Students, and Mrs. Jasmine Howard, an Academic Advisor. It was Dr. Boger and Mrs. Howard’s first time seeing what CARP stands for on campus. Although Dr. Boger had to leave the event early, she expressed interest and excitement in CARP.
Before diving into the main portion of our program, participants engaged with one another about the topic of solving family related issues and discussing ways we can improve our relationships within our family.
The program started with a performance by the dance group called God-Loving Aesthetic Dancers (GLAD), which many of the CARP NJIT members are a part of and is led by CARP NJIT Vice President, Masaho Shimobayashi. They danced to a Korean pop song called Thanks by Seventeen.
The Parental Perspective
The main speaker for this event was Mr. George Allen. Mr. Allen formerly served as an elected District Leader for North Ward of Newark for 22 years, was a former CARP logistics leader and a former state leader, as well as many other leadership positions. He is currently retired with two children and two grandchildren.
Through his wisdom as a parent and a grandparent, Mr. Allen testified about the importance of maintaining healthy relationships within the family level and beyond. Mr. Allen started his speech by sharing about the reality of families today; families are not in their ideal state because of the breakdown in the relationship between parents and children. Mr. Allen went on to reintroduce the mantra of the ‘Peace Starts With Me’ movement. In order for peace and change to occur within the family, it must start on an individual level.
A call to action from Mr. Allen:
“Please put yourself into a daily routine with a lot more communication and involvement in each other’s lives. Practice loving and forgiving each other more obviously and often.”
One student shared:
“I think I should make more of an effort to reach out to my parents about my life and let them be involved. I can tell that my mother wants to hear about my day, and even if I'm tired, I want to tell her about it so that she’s happy.” - NJIT Student
A Student Perspective
Giving the student perspective, Keisetsu Nakamura, CARP NJIT President, shared on the topic of family. He shared how the family is the school of love, how everyone possesses distinct qualities that resemble their parents, and that good families are built with investment.
To start his speech, he engaged the audience in a short meditation to reflect on their relationships in their life. Each person in the audience were guided to visualize one person in their life whom they shared a close and meaningful relationship with. Throughout his speech, Keisetsu testified about his own relationship with his parents and siblings as a way to explain the role that he plays in his own family.
An excerpt from Keisetsu’s speech:
“From time to time, whenever some of my friends come up to me, they comment on how big my jawline is. I tell them that this is because I inherited such a jawline from my father. In the same way, I can say that I inherited compassion, humility, kindness, and stubbornness from my mother. Now those are pretty amazing qualities, don’t you think? In all seriousness, my point is that we are not just ourselves. We ultimately inherited distinct character traits from those who came before us and we resemble them in some way, shape, or form. I believe that it is our responsibility to show them our gratitude in return for who they guided us to be.”
Keisetsu invited his former Academic Advisor, Jasmine Howard, to this event, and she enjoyed listening to his speech.
“During Keisetsu’s speech, when he asked us to think about someone in particular, I was thinking about my husband, and … I feel like there are some things I can just let go in terms of forgiveness and work together to have a loving relationship as a couple and with our son as our little nuclear family.” - Mrs. Howard
To conclude this event, CARP members performed Mujogeon (Unconditionally), the dance of unconditional love for God.
This first CARP NJIT campus impact event was a success thanks to the investment of the CARP NJIT student leaders; everyone was able to connect with theme of family and realize the beauty of what a family can bring to the table.
When each participant reflected on their own current relationship with their families and peers, a space for open and honest dialogue was made possible. By recognizing one another and mutually understanding where each person comes from, conversations about family values and issues could take place. CARP NJIT is looking forward to host more campus impact events, like this one, in the future.