Unity Day expands to Unity Week at Penn State York

Penn State York will celebrate its 11th annual Unity Day on Friday, April 17, and has turned a day-long celebration into a week-long event, April 13 – 17, when students, faculty, staff, and members of the York community are invited to celebrate diversity. Events will take place from from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. each day unless otherwise noted, around the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center

Monday through Thursday, a variety of displays and events are scheduled to take place with a theme each day: Monday - Europe, Tuesday - The Americas, Wednesday - Asia, and Thursday – Africa. Displays, food, dancing, and other events will highlight the theme of each day. The Penn State York Bookstore as well as the library will feature books from diverse authors linked to the theme of the day. In addition, Native American pottery will be on display in the Lee R. Glatfelter Library. The pottery is on loan for the week from Don Lieberknect, a former Penn State York faculty member who taught German at the campus. A display of 30 ceremonial dance masks from Latin American nations, primarily Mexico and Guatemala, are also on permanent display in the library. The masks were donated by the family of the late Gary Collison Penn State York professor of English/American studies, who died two years ago. These masks were part of a much larger collection gathered by Collison, many of which were purchased in his travels to other countries.

A free showing of the academy award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire is scheduled in the Community Room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center beginning at 5 p.m. The film is part of the Wednesday celebration of Asia.

The events of the week all lead up to the culminating event on Friday when everyone will come together to share food items that represent their heritage. Those who attend can participate in an international food sampling from a number of countries. Displays that reflect the origin or ancestry of faculty, staff, and students will also be set-up in and around the student center. A variety of performances are scheduled and food representing the ethnicity of the campus community will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Penn State York students created T-shirt designs to celebrate Unity Week and the campus community selected a T-shirt design from among them. A design by Jonathan Figueroa, a Penn State York business major, was selected for the shirts. Those participating in Unity Day will wear the specially designed T-shirts. Visitors to the event can also receive a shirt, while supplies last, if they visit a number of displays. Goals for Unity Day include creating teachable moments to learn about diversity and to provide an opportunity for the campus and community to suggest ways Penn State can create a multicultural environment.

Unity Day is the culmination of the work of Penn State York’s Diversity Committee which includes students, faculty, and staff and is sponsored by the group. A variety of multicultural events are planned throughout the year to provide a forum for the campus and community to learn about diversity.

Goals for Unity Week include creating teachable moments to learn about diversity and to provide an opportunity for the campus and community to suggest ways Penn State can create a multicultural environment. Flags fly at Penn State York representing the homelands of students, faculty, and staff year-round, and symbolize campus pride in the ethnic heritage of campus members and their commitment to providing an environment where all opinions are valued and respected. Unity Week is an opportunity to educate, understand, and appreciate the differences among us and discover the many similarities.

Tentative Unity Week Schedule

Monday, April 13, Europe

* Bookstore display: The Reader by Bernard Schlink;

* Activities: Spain – presentation by students who traveled to Spain during spring break; Ireland - Irish dancers; France – presentation and table display by students who traveled to France over spring break; Italy - food; Greek - food.

Tuesday, April 14 , The Americas

* Bookstore display: When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

* Activities: Puerto Rico – food and dance; Dominican Republic - music, food, display, instruments, Parcheesi and dominos games; Peru – display table and food; Argentina – display table and food; Guatemala – presentation by students who traveled to Guatemala during winter break. 

Wednesday, April 15, Asia

* Bookstore display: Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup; Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng; The Crazed by Ha Jin; Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi?

* Activities: India – group dance, food from Taj Mahal; presentation; play cricket; movie: Slumdog Millionaire – 5:00 pm,, Community Room, Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center; China – display table; Vietnam – display table.

Thursday, April 16, Africa

* Bookstore display: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe; Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

* Activities: Egypt – display table; Cameroon – display table; Uganda – display table; Ghana – display table; Sierra Leone – display table; South Africa – display table; Africa as a continent – display table.

Friday, April 17, Unity Day

* Activities: International Business class table; France- students setting up table display/doing table presentation; Dominican Republic – display table, food; Sierra Leone – display table, food; Penn State York – club fair; India – display table, Henna painting, food; Dominican Republic – display table, food; Egypt – food; Ireland – display table, food; Puerto Rico - display table, food; Chile – dessert; Poland – perogies; Ghana – display table.

* Performances beginning at noon: Brazilian capoeira dancers; Fashion show of international clothing; music: Indian dance; Latin dance lessons.





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Last Updated November 18, 2010