Ukraine Rally Event
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine early Thursday morning, a group of Penn State students gathered outside of the Allen Street gate to show their support for the nation and to denounce the war taking place on the other side of the planet.
Surrounded by the sound of cars honking their horns in support, students and professors alike stood together holding signs and speaking about the human reality behind what is being shown on televisions all over the country.
Mia Heren spoke about her connection to Ukrainian culture, which Russia is denying.
“I grew up in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, but I would go to the Ukrainian heritage school in Philadelphia,” Heren (first-year-architectural engineering) said. “I learned the culture and met so many amazing people from the Ukraine… It feels like their lives are being taken away.”
Sophia Datsko, the vice president of the Ukrainian Society, spoke on the logistics of the event.
“We planned this very last minute as we didn’t expect the events of last night to occur so soon.”
The matter is a personal one for Datsko, as her extended family is currently in Ukraine, deciding how to move forward surrounded by war. The support that the campus has shown has been a source of light for her during this time.
“The people of Penn State are united and backing Ukraine,” Datsko said.
Even some Penn State professors joined the cause, with professor of Russian, Adrian Wenner, standing alongside the students.
“At least we are showing some solidarity,” Wenner said. “That’s really all we can do at this moment is how I see it.” Wenner’s participation shows the unity on campus regarding the Ukrainian cause. “It just fills you with a rush of sadness to watch. I’m a Russian professor, but I’m firmly in support of Ukraine.”
The gathering lasted about four hours, with approximately 50 supporters standing throughout the rally and hundreds of students and citizens viewing the display.
While this event was a last-minute plan, the Ukrainian Society was very happy with the turnout and the support shown by community members in State College.
The club plans on holding a second event next Thursday. The plan is for an official gathering, where attendees can donate to health and safety causes within Ukraine. The plan for next week will officially be unveiled by the Ukrainian Society after they hash out the final details.
Evan Smith is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.