By Ana Ioachimescu
The Office of Multicultural Programs and Services (OMPS) is hosting Unity Month this November. There will be activities and opportunities all month long for Emory students to bond and exercise tolerance towards each other.
Unity Month comes at a time when several incidents of social insensitiv- ity have been prevalent at Emory. In the past month, there has been resent- ment over Yik Yak comments and the spray painting of swastikas on the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity house. More recently, a sexual assault was reported on Halloween night, resulting in significant backlash.
In response to the recent sexual assault allegation, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair sent an email to the entire Emory community stating Emory’s commitment to fighting social injustices of all kinds. Shortly after, another email was sent by Student Government Association President Jon Darby encouraging the commu- nity to wear red on Monday in con- demnation of sexual assault.
The OMPS is striving to fight these injustices by organizing Unity Month events. On Monday, Nov. 3, the office hosted Share a Meal, an event in which the Emory community was encouraged to eat lunch with a stranger at the Dobbs Market.
The following day, the Unity Roundtable took place in the Cox Hall Ballroom, which, as the name suggests, promoted conversation and community.
Wonderful Wednesday was enhanced by the sense of festivity perpetuated by Unity Month. There was an activity in which students put their handprints on a billboard; by the end of Wonderful Wednesday, onlookers could see the many hands of Emory students, all different colors and sizes but together united.
On Thursday, numerous Emory students showcased their various musical talents at Lyrical Justice.
Finally, two events will take place today: Culture Shock and Crossroads Connect.
Culture Shock consists of several performances, including a comedy show by Eddie Huang, and a cultural reception for various multicultural organizations such as the OMPS itself.
Additionally, Crossroads Connect, which will take place in the Winship Ballroom, is part of a series of events designed to allow students to explore the pillars of the program: community, identity and diversity. The event is an opportunity for students to get a taste of the Crossroads program. If they are interested, students can join a Crossroads Retreat, which is a weekend-long bonding experience.
Although many Unity Month events took place this week, there are opportunities to participate in the fol- lowing weeks as well. On Thursday, Nov. 13, Intersections Extended will raise awareness about issues of race and sexual oppression.
According to M. DeLa Sweeney, assistant director of the OMPS, the event is “planned and imple- mented by the student leaders of the Intersections program known as Section Leaders”. If students enjoy the discussion, they can apply to be a part of the Intersections Retreat (January 16-18, 2015).
Additionally, The Trashion Show will take place on Friday, Nov. 21 at 6pm in Winship Ballroom.
“The purpose is to bring aware- ness to recycled goods, in this case trash bags and newspaper,” Assistant Director for the OMPS Andrea Grant said.
Also, Emory students and staff can partake in the Unity Month Banner Contest throughout November. In this challenge, they can create a banner and demonstrate what unity means for them and their residence halls. The winners of the best banner receive prize money.
The OMPS encourages as many people as possible to participate in these numerous bonding activities. This is an opportunity unique to Emory for students who are looking to breed tolerance and unity.
– By Ana Ioachimescu, Contributing Writer