As part of LGBT month, a flag larger than the Academic Quad will be marched around campus at noon April 14 to bring together the many different types of diversity represented at Ithaca College.
The Unity Project’s goal is to bring individuals from across campus together to create a panel and partake in holding the flag and celebrate the campus community.
Senior Cornell Woodson, president of SGA, said this event educates people on all of the components of diversity beyond race.
“There are so many different things that bring diversity to a community,” he said. “Sexual orientation, gender, political views. Race is just a rung in the ladder.”
Senior Genevieve Labe began the project last year with the since-dissolved Unity Council, when she saw the documentary “Key West: City of Colors” during the Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen film series, which was sponsored by the LGBT Center. In the movie, the people of Key West stretch a large rainbow flag from one end of the city to the other.
“After I saw the movie I wanted to do something similar but that would carry out the same idea,” Labe said.
With help from SGA, Labe said she hopes she gets enough people to celebrate this event and hold the flag. The flag is made up of panels that are 5 feet in length. They are decorated and then sewn together to represent unity.
Labe said this is her second year working on the project. Last year, groups, departments, student organizations and individuals decorated their panel with paint in any way that they wanted and in ways they felt described them.
“Sometimes it is a big blob of a ton of different things, but some are more organized,” she said. “One individual did one with a Canadian flag, and it was tie-dye. People have gone all out on it.”
According to Labe, this year there are around 50 groups participating in the project, compared to last year, when there were about 90.
“The word has not gotten around as well as it did last year, but the same level of excitement is still present,” she said. “I also feel that everyone is much busier this year.”
There has also been a financial hurdle standing in her way. Woodson said SGA is going through a rough patch in terms of helping her fund the project and is hoping other organizations will step up to the plate.
“We really want to see how much we can get from other offices, and then we will see how much we can afford as well,” he said. “It isn’t that we don’t want to give any money to it, [it’s just that] we are very low on funds.”
Woodson said he hopes this project becomes a tradition after Labe graduates and said that SGA will support it in the future.
“Hopefully it will grow, and people will follow behind it and see it as something that is really crucial every year,” he said.
According to sophomore Andrew Whitson, resident assistant for Terrace 7, his residents are going to sign the panel and leave any messages they want to show their diversity.
“Our building as a whole doesn’t really have anything special about it,” he said. “But [we are] definitely trying to make our little community be shown at the college.”
Senior Class President AJ Mizes said he remembers the banner spread across the quad last year and said it is important to have the panel as a visual reminder of diversity on campus.
“It is a nice way for the senior class to leave a lasting impression for this special time,” he said. “There are many things that can be represented on a piece of panel that is going to be displayed for everyone to see.”
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