Students, faculty promote unity and diversity

Ethnic and religious groups on campus came together to support unity and diversity last week. Each organization brought one item or quote representing diversity in a Celebration of Unity gathering.
There were 22 participating groups, including the Gay Straight Alliance, the Student Government Association and Young Life.
“I think it’s important that we explore everyone else’s beliefs and understandings,” said junior Sarah Bromberger, president of Augustana Hillel.
President of Right to Life Leah Baumgart said the event offered a sense of community.
“Regardless of what groups we’re in, we all have that one thing that we’re really passionate about that we need to advocate for,” said Baumgart, a senior.
After a representative from each group spoke, professor of English David Crowe gave a speech on the importance of unity and diversity.
“It means everything to me that we actually have a community here and that we actually learn to love each other as people are supposed to,” said Crowe in his speech.
After the speech, students and faculty held a candle light ceremony.
“In the word ‘community,’ you can find word ‘unity,’ and we understand that in order to develop a community it’s necessary that we develop unity and work together,” said junior Rachel Auton, secretary of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
Once all the candles were lit, group members sang and ate s’mores.
“We brought a few things to show everyone,” said the representative from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “One is a basketball, one is a softball and the other is a golf ball. And at first these seem very different, but when you start to look at them, you see they’re all round, they’re all for sports, and that’s kind of how we work, too.”
Representatives from Augie International used maps to point out that most people either come from different places or want to travel.
Representatives brought maps they had prepared at the Activities Fair during Welcome Week in August. On each map, they asked students to mark places they had been and wanted to go.
Other groups included the Asian Student Organization, Interfaith Understanding and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
“I think that unity comes from understanding each other in more ways than just one,” said president of NAMI Lilly Ramos, a senior.
“When I was thinking about what to say, I came across a phrase that says, ‘when you work together, you are stronger,’” said senior Richard Benson, president of SGA. “The more we get involved and involve each other, the sweeter the outcome is going to be. And the more we work together, the more beautiful we can make this campus, and I just think that’s a good reminder to have.”