|Flourish Online Magazine||Fall 2012|
Meet Jessie Blowers: On a mission for peace and art
By Jessica Linnell Price
Photo by Tracie L. Hinnant
When Jessie Blowers sets her mind to a task—whether it’s getting Kennesaw State University to create a new major or putting together a human peace sign—she stops at nothing to get it done. And during her time at KSU, she has successfully completed both. Her Facebook group titled “Kennesaw State University needs an Art History Major” was the catalyst for the creation of the new major in 2011. Then, after co-chairing the KSU Peace Conference in 2011, she began planning a human peace sign event—her way of showing living art and peace as one.
After receiving permission to hold the event on campus, she set off to the task and never looked back. Though she had some experience planning large-scale events during the KSU Peace Conference, Blowers had no idea how much time, effort and even money it would take to pull off her vision. Parking arrangements, fundraising, securing vendors, coordinating volunteers and drawing out the peace sign to proper scale were all vital components of the event. But those components proved to be easy in comparison—Blowers still had to get people to show up.
On March 31, 2012, after late night emails and struggles to coordinate all the little things, Blowers’ vision came true. Well, sort of. She had hoped to break the Guinness World Record by having more than 6,000 people assemble in the name (and shape) of peace. Though her official total was 1,983, Blowers’ event was a major success. A video of the event is available at http://vimeo.com/40196994.
One of Blowers’ greatest supporters for the Peace Project was Michael Sanseviro, dean of Student Success. “Despite many, many setbacks that would have discouraged most people, Jessie pushed forward and persisted in her desire to bring this historical peace event to fruition,” Sanseviro says.
Blowers readily admits she had setbacks and times of doubt. “I’ve never worked so hard in my entire life on something. It consumed me, but it was so rewarding,” she says.
Blowers’ dedication to peace has not gone unnoticed. She was asked to introduce Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jody Williams as part of KSU’s Pathways to Peace Lecture Series on Feb. 2, 2012. She was also invited to the Carter Center as a guest to a member of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, where she again found herself next to a Nobel Peace Prize recipient—Jimmy Carter.
Blowers is already starting to plan her next attempt at breaking the record on Sept. 21, 2013, the International Day of Peace. But for now, she is concentrating on two things—graduating in December and having a baby. After graduation, she plans to combine her love of art and her business skills, and of course, to continue to support peace.
“She is one of the most passionate and focused students I’ve ever met,” says Sanseviro. “I know Jessie will achieve amazing things in her life and help so many people.”