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Dear World

Dear World
Emmanuel Akpan ’14 inscribed "Blessed are the Peacemakers" on himself for the University's "Dear World" event in March 2012.

‘If You Could Tell the World One Thing, What Would It Be?’

Difficult question to answer? No doubt.

That is exactly why photographer Robert X. Fogarty asked it to Scranton students, faculty and staff during the University’s “Dear World” event, sponsored by the USPB, in March.

Those who elected to take part then scribbled a message on their body and had a photograph taken. The results are inspiring, light-hearted, thought-provoking and, best of all, from the heart.

The Dear World event, which began as a campaign in New Orleans, La., for those who lost everything from flooding to share their message with the world, proved to be so popular that University students selected it as “Program of the Year” at the Student Leadership Awards this spring.

“When I look at the pictures, I am still awed by the compelling words that people chose to share,” said co-organizer Maria Marx ’12. “The pictures capture students’ personalities and passions remarkably well, and looking at the pictures you can’t help but be swept into that passion.”

Check out more photographs from the Dear World event in our "Web Exclusive Photos" section – the link is above.


Interview With ‘Dear Event’ Co-Organizer Maria Marx

1. Why did the USPB decide to bring this event to campus?

After seeing the photos taken by Robert Fogarty at other universities, I was impressed by the compelling messages that students “sent to the world” and by the passion that Robert captured in the photos. We thought it would be a very unique event for USPB to sponsor and an excellent way for students to have their voices heard.

2. What was the reaction from students who participated?

The reaction from the students was overwhelming in the most positive way. The photo shoot was only a couple of hours long, but once word got out about it and people saw some of the pictures, it seemed that everyone had a message to share.

3. What does the event mean to you? And why is the event so moving/compelling?

This event was extremely unique. It gave students a rare opportunity to share what they would say to the world. When I look at pictures I am still awed by the compelling words that people chose to share. The pictures capture students' personalities and passions remarkably well, and looking at the pictures you can’t help but be swept into that passion. Additionally, I feel that this event had a unifying effect on the campus. Students, faculty and staff alike came together and shared their messages, united by both the similarities and differences. At the closing presentation of the photos, five students had the opportunity to explain their messages. With little to no time to prepare what they would say, the students got up and spoke from the heart about that which is most important to them. The reaction of the students and staff in the crowd was one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced. 

4. How did you decide on your message, and what does it mean to you?

The message I chose, “to love another person is to see the face of God,” was inspired by a service trip to Haiti. The quote itself comes from the show “Les Miserables,” but it took on new meaning for me after I visited Haiti. It was there, looking at the beautiful faces of Haitian orphans, holding them and feeling their unassuming love that I knew I had encountered God. I chose to share this message because I wanted the world to know that if you open yourself up to selfless, human love like that which I experienced in Haiti, you will undoubtedly encounter God.

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