Sauntering down Tech Walkway on Monday afternoon towards the Campanile lead to cheerful festivities with bright colors, alluring smells, the occasional tune and some dancing.
All the all the hubbub may have appeared as one of the homecoming week activities, but the event, called GT Unite, was put on by RHA alongside several other cultural organizations on campus. The goal was to incorporate diversity into the homecoming celebration. In the past, several individual cultural festivals have been celebrated on campus, but never one that brought all the different groups together.
Normally, homecoming week is centered on school pride and tradition through various events that are organized around campus; however, RHA decided that this year they wanted something specifically that illustrated to students the breadth of organizations present on campus and bring together the entire campus community in one large event.
While the majority of the attendees were Tech students, about 20 percent were faculty members and others not affiliated with the school.
The Asian-American Student Union and India Club were among the most popular of the booths visited. Other notable participating organizations included Health Promotions, the Student Alumni Association, WREK Radio and the LGBTQIA Center.
Many of the ethnic clubs offered free food. Other clubs like the Campus Freethinkers encouraged conversation among students by discussing topics posted on a cork-board.
Closer to the Student Center, there was a table set up for body painting. When the event started coming to a close, there was even a break dancing circle was beginning to form right beside the Campanile.
The organizer of the event, Jeremiah Robertson, stated that the goal of the event was to promote “not only ethnic diversity, but to highlight diversity of all kinds”.
Traditionally, the focus of RHA is to create opportunities for students to have an enjoyable college experience. They feel that diversity is an integral part of the student experience here, so they created GT Unite to commemorate that. According to Jeremiah, RHA plans to do even more in the future to promote diversity here on campus. Later on in semester, Jeremiah mentioned the possibility of an event that encourages students to “break their stereotypes”. These types of initiatives will certainly increase student awareness of greater social issues, and hopefully generate discussion on campus about these topics.
The success of RHA Unite suggests that it might become a permanent part of the Georgia Tech homecoming tradition. Furthermore, one of the SCPC Homecoming Committee goals is to promote inclusion in Homecoming activities. If RHA includes GT Unite as a homecoming tradition, then Tech is one step closer to achieving a diverse and inclusive homecoming. Because the majority of students who attended, discovered the event via social networks, conceivably RHA Unite will have the opportunity to quickly grow if well promoted online. Perhaps by incorporating events such as these into homecoming week, it will allow students to more easily encounter organizations that they were previously unaware of, and encourage them to join.