CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - Students at St. Anne’s-Belfield School held their fifth annual Greenway Symposium on Sunday where they grappled with big problems and also paid tribute to former slain student Tessa Majors, in a small but meaningful way.
The theme of the symposium was ‘Conflict Resolution in a Changing World’. Students heard from speakers discussing topics from climate change to Confederate monuments.
“I think the Greenway Symposium is just about creating an open dialogue and inviting intellectual curiosity,” Sam Gruber, a St. Anne’s-Belfield School student, said.
There were several speakers at this year's event including a historian and an environmental science professor.
Historian Kevin Levin discussed Confederate statues in southern cities saying the decision to put the statues up in majority-black areas was made during the Jim Crow era. “What we’re learning in 2019 is that in places like Charlottesville, and elsewhere, these monuments and memorials have never really reflected the collective values of the community.”
UVA Environmental Science Professor Deborah Lawrence says those who care about climate change must reframe the conversation. “We tend to go to this dark place of what’s going to happen if we don’t do anything and there will be a lot of conflicts, but I prefer to live in a world where we do solve the problem.”
Organizers also raised donations in honor of slain former St. Anne’s-Belfield student Tessa Majors.
“Our school community is still reeling from the loss of Tess Majors who graduated last year and who pretty much everyone in this room knew in some regards,” Gruber said.
The event was organized exclusively by the students who say they learned a critical life lesson while planning.
“We definitely learned perseverance, we had a lot of denials,” Zach Ashby, a St. Anne’s-Belfield School student, said.
During the event, students also collected donations for the Music Resource Center which was a nonprofit near and dear to Tessa Majors.