Annual Celebration of the Flags highlights diversity

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The 26th annual Celebration of the Flags took place on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. It is an event at which international and American students celebrate the diversity at the University of Indianapolis.

“It means a lot to me, as an international student, that the university  recognizes the need to show off our diversity,” said senior computer information systems Darcy Bax from Greece. “It was an amazing feeling going up on the stage and waving my country’s home flag and having the crowd cheer.”

The Celebration of the Flags is usually held on Smith Mall but due to rainy weather, it was relocated to the Athletics and Recreation Center.

President Robert Manuel gives his speech on diversity at the Celebration of the Flags. The event took place in the Athletics and Recreation Center this year on Oct. 9. Photo by Shane Collins-Yosha

President Robert Manuel gives his speech on diversity at the Celebration of the Flags. The event took place in the Athletics and Recreation Center this year on Oct. 9. Photo by Shane Collins-Yosha

The event began with a procession of flags, one flag for each country from which the university has an international student.

Three students performed a song called “Moonlight in the City” with traditional Chinese instruments. Junior business education major Roshanne Smith spoke about the pride she felt holding a flag in the celebration. Indianapolis Student Government President Tyler Offutt spoke as well. President Robert Manuel gave a speech about the importance of diversity on the campus and how he has diversity in his own life.

“I thought the Celebration of the Flags was pretty interesting,” freshman pre-athletic training major Jeff Todd said. “The way that they showed each individual country was pretty neat for myself. Coming from a small town, you don’t get to see a lot of diversity. But coming to a place where you get to see a bunch of international students every day is pretty awesome.”

After the speeches, students had the opportunity to go to four tables that were set up in the ARC. These tables represented Africa, China, Saudi Arabia and India. At these tables, visitors could learn a dance, try different foods and complete a “passport” for a chance to win a free sweatshirt.

“[One of my favorite parts was] definitely seeing all the different types and kinds of flags. I am a huge flag guy and even have a flag collection at home,” Todd said. “Also seeing the different types of art styles that represented the flags was something that you don’t get to see a lot of.”

Many freshmen attended the event, which was required by their New Student Experience classes.

“I think that it’s important to have the freshmen required to go,” Bax said. “It lets freshmen see a lot of culture and diversity that they normally would not see on a day-to day-basis and lets them appreciate these different cultures.”

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