Award recognizes peace, nonviolence on campus

The first semi-annual peace award recipients have been chosen for their efforts in peace and nonviolence on and off-campus. Photo Contributed by: Thupten Tendhar

Education and understanding is the key to opening the door for a more peaceful and nonviolent approach to life, according to Hilda Lloréns, associate professor of anthropology and marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island. 

The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies has distributed their first semi-annual peace awards to recognize students and faculty for their efforts in mindfulness and spreading peace.

Lloréns has been recognized for her environmental activist work in her homeland, Puerto Rico, and received the faculty award for peace and nonviolence. 

She is a contributing member of the Iniciativa de Eco Desarrollo de Bahía de Jobos (IDEBAJO).

Her work is based in Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico, a coastal town similar to Narragansett. Jobos Bay has been riddled with environmental issues, including rising sea levels and recent hurricanes.

Lloréns engages with the community, writes for grants and initiates fundraising, especially after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and works for youth education and empowerment. 

What’s most rewarding about receiving this award for Lloréns is being seen.

 “I’m outside of campus, and so it’s great to be visible,” she said. 

Lloréns explained that time is precious and she puts time, effort and care into her work as an anthropologist. 

She said that her work could not have been done without the help of her colleagues, Ruth Santiago, Catalina de Onís and Carlos Garcia-Quijano. 

Together they organize outreach, and have even written a children’s book, “Environmental Justice Is for You and Me: Bilingual Children’s Book,” to reach younger ages about the importances of being eco-friendly. 

Lloréns said that this book has been her favorite project to work on. “Environmental Justice Is for You and Me: Bilingual Children’s Book” has been a top selling book since it was published, and the book’s proceeds go toward raising funds for Convivencia Ambiental Youth Summer Workshop/Camp in Jobos Bay. 

  For this, Lloréns thanks her education to be able to do her activism and her compassion that helps her understand others.

For student recipient Sidney Pimental, a senior majoring in communications, she has learned what it means to lead with kindness. 

Pimental started as a public relations intern for the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies this January, as she was interested in learning more about mindfulness.

“I learned that to lead, you can be kind, you can be peaceful, and thoughtful of others,” Pimental said. 

Pimental thanked Thupten Tendhar, the director of the International Nonviolence Summer Institute at URI and Pimental’s advisor, for helping teach her these lessons. 

Pimental brought mindfulness into her work as an intern by initiating “Mindful Mondays” on Instagram where she would post a poem or a quote. 

“I’m the intern,” Pimental said about winning the award. “I figured there’s no way I’m going to even get nominated.”

In the future, Pimental said that she’s going to bring what she’s learned to her advocacy for mental health. To accomplish this, Pimental is going to continue to spread kindness, love, and peace.

“It’s going to be mindfulness, it’s going to be thoughtfulness, it’s going to be compassion, it’s going to be kindness,” Lloréns said, as her thoughts on what’s going to help change.

Tendhar expressed that the importance of peace and non-violence on campus begins with ourselves. 

“The more mindful, more peaceful we are in our mind, the more attitude and behavior we have become peaceful, and one with that might have a ripple effect,” Tendhar said.