Hundreds of multicolored pieces of papers hung from nylon strings supported by three wooden poles outside the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus Wednesday as Rabbi Shmuel Tiechtel, of Chabad House at ASU, asked students if they wanted to do a good deed in memory of 9/11.
Students who participated in the annual 9/11 Mitzvah Marathon wrote their names, a good deed they planned to do and the name of one of the almost 3,000 victims of Sept. 11, 2001 on a piece of paper.
“That day, terrorists changed the world in a negative way, so I thought, ‘Imagine the power of good!’” Tiechtel said.
Around 200 ASU students and staff wrote pledges this year. Some of them read “Smile at strangers,” “High-five every person who is jogging around campus” and “Buy a stranger’s Starbucks.”
The idea behind the event is to build the twin towers of good, Tiechtel said.
“To me, the most beautiful thing is how people are so happy to just do a good deed randomly for no reason besides paying it forward,” he said. “We’ve had very positive reactions from students.”
Political science junior Jacob Ashby, who has been a member of Chabad since his freshman year, said every deed the students do changes the world.
“All that matters is that they see this and that they think about it,” he said. “It matters that they think about being a better person.”
Creative writing senior Janelle Evans pledged to go to a domestic violence center and rock the babies there to sleep. She said the event was a beautiful way to not only remember those who have been lost, but to help those who are still here.
“Anything that affirms love, affirms beauty (and) affirms life is the best possible thing you can do,” she said. “It’s great that they’re asking people to contribute from their heart, because that’s the only way that we can move forward.”
Mechanical engineering sophomore Henry Archie, who plays lacrosse at ASU, said that he walked past the pledges on his way to class and wanted to come back and participate.
Archie chose to pledge to Eamon McEneaney, an All-American lacrosse player at Cornell University in the 1970s who died during 9/11.
“I pledged to play my heart out for him,” Archie said.
Participating in the Mitzvah Marathon is a good way to commemorate the victims, he said.
“Who knows? Maybe it’s not the best thing we could do, but it’s better than doing nothing at all,” he said. “I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad people are doing it and organizing it.”
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