Fortified by a sugar cookie iced in pink, Kanae Sasaki, a first-year student in Commonwealth Honors College, helped her new friend Emma Winslow, also Class of 2017, fold a paper crane. “Fold each end to the line. It should look like a kite,” she advised.
“We want to fold 20 cranes each,” said Winslow as she sharpened a crease in her paper. “We may be here for hours.”
The students, neighbors in the new Sycamore House, were carrying on a Commonwealth Honors College tradition: displaying 1,000 cranes for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The paper cranes are an ancient Japanese origami pattern symbolizing health and peace. According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish, such as long life or recovery from an illness or injury.
The Commonwealth Honors College crane-folding tradition began in 2010. This year students created all-new cranes for the new Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community. Students gathered in late September for an origami evening in the Events Hall, where the 1,000 cranes now hang in strings of eight.
The paper cranes took on added meaning this year. They were completed just in time for a celebration of the life and achievements of Dean Priscilla Clarkson, who died of breast cancer in August before the first students moved into the new residential community. One of every eight of the origami cranes is pink, to depict the statistic that about one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer sometime in her life.
“Folding the cranes together promotes a great sense of community,” said Brilee Weaver ’16. “And we’re doing it for a very important cause.”