Students and faculty were able to recognize the Celebration of the Flags event at the University of Indianapolis together and in-person again this year, according to University President Robert Manuel. The flag ceremony had 93 countries being represented, with flags being carried by students from those countries. This is the 33rd year that the ceremony has taken place, according to news.uindy.edu. Manuel said it is the 10th year that he has celebrated the Celebration of the Flags with UIndy.
“Every year we get together and we take a moment to come together as a community to both talk about, and show ourselves how lucky we are to have people from around the world and how diverse we are as a community by looking at where we come from from around the world,” Manuel said.
The International Exposition was held after the Celebration of the Flags and included booths with displays showcasing different countries to allow students to learn about other cultures. The exposition featured displays and had 25 booths that were hosted by different groups at UIndy, such as Study Abroad, Global Languages and Cross-Cultural Studies, International Relations and others, according to news.uindy.edu.
Manuel encouraged students to come to the Celebration of the Flags and the International Exposition. He said that the events were an opportunity to learn about different cultures and see different people.
“Get to know people that are different from yourself,” Manuel said. “Get to know people that are from different parts of this world, and do that as part of your education, do that as part of the experiences that you take as part of your undergraduate experience here.”
Students who attended these events were able to hear musical performances and speeches. The musical performances were done by freshman music performance major Sofia Casasola and freshman music performance major David Bozovic, while the speeches were done by junior psychology and communication major Bhumibol Shakya, first year masters student Cesone Clemmings and Manuel.
During his speech, Shakya talked about how UIndy has impacted his life, values the international students and acknowledges what they are able to bring to the classroom. He also talked about how being involved at UIndy helped him, especially with UIndy Speech and Debate.
Sophomore nursing major Lauren Speer attended the events. She enjoyed hearing the different music performances done by students.
“I probably enjoyed the musical performances the most because it was really impressive to see the wide range of talent that we have at UIndy because that’s not something that we regularly see,” Speer said.
Both the Celebration of the Flags and the International Exposition were able to be celebrated with the UIndy community all together in-person, as last year the events had to be held online and students watched a video, according to Speer. However, the events were able to be in-person again this year, with social distancing and mask wearing. Manuel said the in-person celebration was a reminder of how diverse the UIndy community is and how many different countries are represented here at UIndy.
“Oftentimes, especially with COVID[-19] where we’ve been isolated and kind of separated from each other for so long, this is one great moment to remember that the world’s population is resident here at the university and that we are connected to the world just right here in our backyard,” Manuel said. “It’s a great opportunity to take in the culture of the world and remember that we’re connected in greater ways than we think.”