One of the great things about being a student at Le Moyne is that you can leave your mark on the campus – and the world – before you even graduate. That’s part of what drew us to the College and inspired the founding of Peace Action Le Moyne (PALM) in early 2021. For those who might not have heard of it, PALM is a nonpartisan group that empowers students to advocate for peace and social justice. We host educational events on topics ranging from the danger posed by nuclear weapons to the impact of global pandemics on state health care regulations; engage in grassroots initiatives alongside our partner organization, the Syracuse Peace Council; and take part in various action campaigns, including Back from the Brink, a national effort to change U.S. nuclear weapons policy and prevent war. In short, we nurture and cultivate young leaders in the peace movement. Our work is largely shaped by our members’ interests and by national and international events. This spring we hosted a discussion on the humanitarian crisis that stemmed from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It’s not surprising to either of us that an organization like PALM should find a home at a place like Le Moyne. Throughout our time here, we’ve been taught to be agents of change – that every day is an opportunity to reset. That behavior is modeled at events like Dolphins in Volunteer Efforts (DIVE) Day, during which students donate their time to give back to the greater Syracuse community, whether by picking up trash in a local park or serving a meal at a soup kitchen. That is what we seek to emulate at PALM. It’s not always easy to create change. It takes patience, cooperation and understanding. But we believe that change is possible, and that it can start with a single person. When new people join PALM, we assure them that they don’t have to be an expert in creating change. They just have to be willing to learn. The rest will follow.
Morgan Piersma ’23 and Marie Wagar ’23 are the president and vice president respectively of Peace Action Le Moyne. Piersma is a dual major in political science and peace and global studies from Utica, N.Y. Wagar is an English major from Buffalo, N.Y.