Solidarity Week enters third year with new committee

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor

The third annual Solidarity Week begins Sept. 9 and offers students a week of activities focused on recognizing and teaching others about differences. Each year, the event grows, providing students with more ways to not only learn about each other’s differences, but to celebrate what makes each student unique.

This year, the event has grown by hosting more events, but also in the planning process. In years prior, senior Diamond Newsome has worked with a few students and organizations to plan the entire week of activities, but this is the first year an official committee was formed.

The Solidarity Week committee began its work last semester, with Newsome acting as chair. Twenty-five other students were chosen for the committee through an application process. Senior Ryan Moran works as the communications chair, facilitating coordination between different organizations that are helping with the week. He described how having a committee has changed their work.

“I think it’s been incredible to hear so many different perspectives,” Moran said. “That was definitely a goal we had, to try and get as many as people involved as possible.”

This is also the first year that multiple organizations around campus have partnered with Solidarity Week to sponsor and hold events. Some of the organizations sponsoring events include the Chaplain’s office, who will hold a service of lament on Tuesday, the Bonner Scholars Program, who will hold a guided discussion dinner, the Women’s and Gender Studies department, who will hold an arts and crafts activity on Krannert Lawn and KCAB, who will hold a Koffeehouse on Friday.

As the week approaches, students can expect events each day that relate to the week’s theme of celebrating everyone’s differences.

“There are a wider range of events that I think will impact more students than it usually does,” Newsome said.

In addition to the events, a student panel called “Being ___ at Berry” will be held Monday night, as a way for students to ask questions of other students about what makes them different. Sophomore Noah Miller, who has been working with the committee, was asked to participate on this panel. She hopes that students will not only understand the importance of this week, but that the other panelists will benefit as well.

“I hope that [the panelists] find a voice for themselves and they realize that their perspective is important and their voices are important,” Miller said.

Newsome encourages students to attend the week’s activities and support other students on campus. She explained that last year, Solidarity week was not until the sixth week of classes, but because the week was pushed up to the third week of class, she hopes it will have a bigger impact on students, especially freshmen.

“They get a second welcome to Berry, in a different sense, which will be good for them,” Newsome said.

Overall, having an event like this is important to not only Newsome and Moran, but also to students who are working with the committee and participating in activities. Miller hopes students will realized the differences among our campus and will join in on the festivities.

“We are not a homogenous society, even as school,” Miller said. “There are a lot of people who even look similar to you that have different experiences, different beliefs and different perspectives.”

As the week prepares to begin, Newsome leaves one word of advice for students attending the activities.

“Go into it with an open mind, try to understand why you believe what you believe and what parts of your identity are more important to you,” Newsome said.

To keep up to date on events and giveaways, follow @berry_solidarityweek on Instagram.

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