It has been a tradition for the ASU community to come together to celebrate the annual Interfaith Harmony Week during the first week of February. First introduced by the United Nations in 2010, the week celebrates and promotes unity of all religions. Continuing the annual tradition of celebrating Interfaith Harmony Week, members of multiple ASU religious groups gathered to initiate festivities by participating in the Palm Walk Project Sunday.
The Palm Walk Project is a three step process. First, students gathered at tables with palm tree flowers full of seeds outside the W.P. Carey School of Business. In order for the seeds to be pollinated, volunteers must strip the flowers by hand and place the seeds in a bag of dried pollen.
“The goal was to find a creative way for students to volunteer together, but also to learn about the significance of palm trees in one another's faith traditions,” said Rabbi Suzy Stone, Hillel senior Jewish educator and campus Rabbi. “There are a lot of faith traditions where the palm tree plays a dominant role.”
According to Stone, they plan to throw the sacks at the top of the palm trees within two to three weeks of them being made. Then, when fall semester comes, and the palm tree flowers bloom with dates, the students will harvest the fruit from the trees.
“I'm really happy to be out here and meeting different people in person," said Chana Schlossmacher, junior painting major. "I feel like team building is the best way to get working. It just feels so good to get stuff grown in Arizona with my own hands."
Stone said this is the first time the Hillel organization has collaborated with Changemaker to work on a project celebrating Interfaith Harmony Week. Although the students have not worked on a project like this before, they were excited to get to work.
“I think it's really cool just to be able to contribute to the beauty of our campus,“ said Zachary Bell, social impact chair of the Hillel Jewish Students Center and junior saxophone performance major. "I always loved walking down Palm Walk when I lived on campus, and I love whenever I get a chance to walk down it now. And early in the fall when all the dates are up in the trees, and they're practically hitting you on the head as you walked by."
To ensure all religious students that wished to join in the activity would be able to attend, organizers scheduled the event to accommodate for religious commitments.
“Changemaker usually does things on Saturdays and Jewish people who participate in the Sabbath don't do things on Saturdays,” Bell said. “So they have the opportunity to participate in an event like this, that's interfaith among all of us here.”
The event allowed students to meet others of different faiths and converse to learn about different religious communities represented within the ASU student body while working together on this project.
"I always love the community that you can build just by going into these events where everyone feels like they're making a little bit of a difference in the community," Bell said.
Andrea Ramirez is a part-time reporter at The State Press. She has previously worked for The State Press for Spring ‘23.