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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Your roots? Our roots? One Love Roots!

Naman Hampton gets a ride on a hot air ballon.  This was one of many fun activities planned at the celebration. (Justin Betson)
Naman Hampton gets a ride on a hot air ballon. This was one of many fun activities planned at the celebration. (Justin Betson)

On Saturday Nov. 3, blue skies and sunlight covered the lake at Guilford College like a lion’s mane, children ran wildly, people hacked and played Frisbee, and security complained that “life-threatening” dogs weren’t on leashes. All this gave life to One Love Roots as it held its third Cooperation Celebration Festival.The creative forces behind One Love, Christopher Keiser ‘99 and Debra Kiliru ‘99, describe the festival as “an invitation for the whole community — Guilford College, Greensboro, and beyond — to gather, educate, envision, and manifest appropriate programs within the stated mission of Guilford College.”

One Love Roots Cooperation Celebration is working to financially help two programs: the Underground Railroad and an organic cooperative farm in the Guilford meadows.

James Shields ‘00, the current coordinator of Underground Railroad Program, said, “One Love tries to celebrate and appreciate Guilford’s roots and history. In looking at the roots of Guilford College it is only natural that the Farm Program, Underground Railroad, and One Love be connected.”

Mainly due to funding problems, this year’s festival was one day. Last year the festival was three days, and the first festival in April 2000 lasted two days. Shields said, “It was a struggle getting finances. In the end we had to pull it off with one half of the original budget, which was small to begin with.”

Despite meager funds this year’s festival was a success according to Dave Thomas, a sophomore, who said, “One Love is beautiful because it brings different people together under one groove.”

Christopher Keiser and Debra Kiliru said, “We were glad to combine this year’s celebration with Alumni Day and enjoyed seeing old and new faces. It was special to have former Guilford President Bill Rogers, his daughter, and grandchild present to partake in the festivities.”

Several vendors sold jewelry, smoothies, incense, and African art, among a sea of other things. There was delicious vegetarian food with donations going to the Farm and Underground Railroad programs. The Student Union balloon provided thrills and even chills without any bills to many. And, of course, there was the wonderful display of past murals and a new enormous blank canvas that came to life as the day progressed, due to the beautiful work of mostly young children.

A reggae DJ provided tunes until James Shields’ band IMANI came out with an excellent set opening with “By the Rivers of Babylon” into their original “Underground Railroad.” They took a short break and came back on as the festival wrapped up after a day blessed with perfect weather, beautiful people, good food, and information to help Guilford College revive its roots.

Although the festival is over, One Love Roots will continue to meet throughout the year. President Sarah Nees said, “Everyone is welcome to the meetings, which may be held at a new time and day to be announced. For now we want to focus on helping the Earth House with the permaculture garden and gather ideas concerning the Farm Program.” Input is encouraged on a farm summit that will be held in early spring organized by One Love. The summit will focus on action towards implementing the beginning of the organic farm in the meadows (off New Garden Road).

Look for a forthcoming letter in the Guilfordian by alumni Keiser and Kiliru addressing the funds raised by One Love Roots over the past two years that have been mismanaged by Guilford College. These alumni have just launched a non-profit organization specializing in educational trips to Africa, supporting reggae music, and cooperating with appropriate agricultural and technological programs. They can be reached at [email protected] (Inited Nations Of Jah Inter-nation-all-relations Inc.).

One Love would like to thank Earth House, the amazing vendors, Sarah Nees, Sara Lail, James Shields, SCC, and Student Union. In the words of sophomore Aliene Howell as she reflected on her One Love experience, “Good vibes, good times.”

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