DARTMOUTH (CBS) — Students and staff at the UMass Dartmouth planted a “peace tree” Saturday morning in honor of those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon bombings as well as the first responders who were at the scene of the April 15 terrorist attack.

The tree planting was conducted during the opening ceremony of the UMass Dartmouth Shriners Cross Country Invitational. University officials, faculty, students, public safety officials, and cross country track teams from across New England were in attendance.

The planting of the gingko tree was part of a week-long effort at the state school to observe the International Day of Peace, which is observed annually on Sept. 21.

Following the morning ceremony, a second tree, donated by UMass Dartmouth professor Michelle Keith, was planted in downtown New Bedford. The second tree planting was part of New Bedford Beautiful, a public-private partnership that is striving to keep the city of New Bedford clean and make it more livable, according to a prepared statement from the school.

“I am so proud of our students, who have demonstrated an uncommon character since the Boston Marathon tragedy and the events that followed,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said during her remarks at the ceremony. “To all the competitors here today … I ask that you run in memory of those harmed on April 15 and in celebration of our unyielding determination to keep moving forward, despite any obstacle.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

In response to the Boston Marathon bombings, UMass Dartmouth students have organized candlelight vigils and organized fund-raisers, including a Torch Relay from Dartmouth to Boston that generated $7,500 for One Fund Boston.

The surviving marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, was a student at UMass Dartmouth.