Students gathered on Appian Way armed with chalk to share what they loved most about their school, thanks to a Keene State College Pride sponsored event called Keene Love on Monday, Oct. 27.
“The inspiration behind the event was to try and show what we love about Keene State and that we weren’t all part of the group who participated in the riots. If we love Keene so much, why would we destroy it?” KSC Pride President Kayla Magan said.
Students met at the Madison Street Lounge to grab chalk that KSC Pride provided for the event, then headed to Appian Way to write and draw what they loved most about Keene, according to Magan. Magan explained how the event tied into the aftermath of the Pumpkin Fest riots.
“After the riots at Pumpkin Fest I felt like we needed to show everyone how much the students care about their community,” KSC junior Hanna Desouza said.
She continued, “That’s why I went to the event. It was great seeing students writing about why they love Keene and how much they care about what happened. When my professor told our class about the Keene Love event I immediately felt the need to go.”
KSC Pride members were happy to see students from beyond their club getting involved.
“I thought that Chalk Love was such a cool thing for Pride because I saw it as an event that was engaging for the entire Keene State community and not just our club members. It was our way to reach out to everyone and say that we love our school and that the riots don’t have to define us. We saw a lot of people at the event that wouldn’t normally come to a Pride meeting, so that was awesome,” Magan said.
“I think that the event went really well. I loved it when people just walked by and grabbed some chalk and helped out with the messages,” KSC student Lucy Briggs said. Junior Samantha Provencher said she stumbled upon the event.
“I was walking back from the gym and saw all of these people gathered on Appian Way with chalk,” Provencher said, “It was a really positive atmosphere and everyone was laughing and sharing stories. I couldn’t help but stop and join all of them.”
Many students seemed excited to be given a chance to publicly express love for their school.
“I thought that the Keene Love event that KSC Pride put on was a great experience for students to come together and share their positive thoughts on our community,” KSC junior Tori Folk said. Folk talked about Pumpkin Fest and how the event helped the KSC community come together. “The riot from Pumpkin Fest isn’t what should define us, and showing that we really do love and respect our community is what is important to us. What it means to me is knowing that we can make light out of this negative situation that we are stuck in portrayed by the media,” Folk said.
“I’ve been looking for a way to speak out about how much I love Keene after the events at Pumpkin Fest and the Keene Love event was the perfect opportunity to do so,” DeSouza said. She continued to say that she hopes that Keene Love will be around in the years to come. Students said they left the Keene Love event feeling positive about their school and feeling united as a community. “I thought it was very touching that everyone was writing down positive things that they love about Keene,” KSC junior Juliana Cerbone said. Cerbone continued, “I love the Keene environment because the people here are truly the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever met.”
“I liked the event because it was just a bunch of Keene students all getting together and sharing positive vibes, and even though many of us are different we all have the same thing in common — our love for Keene State,” Cerbone said. Other students also said they were entertained.
“So many of them were inspirational. It made me so proud of my school and the people we have in it. From the faculty to the students to the staff, everyone is involved in some kind of way,” Provencher said, “It was also funny reading some of them. One of my favorites was the person who wrote that they loved chicken patty Wednesday. As a Keene student, who doesn’t love it?” “
I love Pride, I love my rugby team, I love kids in my major, I love my RA staff. Everywhere I turn, I have a community I can rely on,” Magan said.
“We did this event to try and show all of Keene State and the greater community why we love our school and why we are proud to be here,” Briggs said.
Roger Weeks can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org