[ skip to content ]

More Information about this image

You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion University Celebrates Diversity at the First-Ever Unity Fest

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Thursday, April 21 was a day to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness at Old Dominion University.

But Lesa Clark, director of Old Dominion's Office of Intercultural Relations, said the University's first-ever Unity Fest is a call for action every day, not just once a year.

"I challenge our campus to strive for inclusiveness, true unity, every single day. That is who we are as Monarchs," Clark said.

A boisterous crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in front of Webb University Center for Unity Fest, designed to bring together student groups and the student body to celebrate the richness of Monarch culture.

A banner created with the help of nearly 80 student organizations, which also signed the University's Unity Fest pledge, was hoisted onto Webb Center. The Unity Wall banner, featuring the names and logos of the student groups, was organized by the University's Interfraternity Council.

SGA President Christopher Ndiritu said student organizations took Unity Fest as a challenge to demonstrate solidarity among the groups, regardless of their backgrounds and interests.

"We are only as strong as we are united, and weak when we are divided," Ndiritu told the crowd. "I hope you continue to join in to make this campus diverse and inclusive."

Students enjoyed lunch while a DJ played hip-hop music. Many, wearing navy blue Unity Day t-shirts, spelled out U-N-I-T-Y by standing in formation on Kaufman Mall.

ODU's Department of Recreation and Wellness organized inflatable bubble soccer, giant cornhole and Hippo Chow Down games. The Dynasty Dance Team performed, and Big Blue roamed around the festivities in a celebration of University pride.

Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick is a longtime champion of diversity and inclusiveness. The University Board of Visitors renamed its Diversity Champion award in his honor in recognition of his passion to empower all members of the university community. The President and members of the University Board of Visitors paused during the board meeting to attend the banner-raising ceremony.

The Old Dominion Office of Intercultural Relations is committed to creating a campus community that values and supports the cultural identities of all students and staff members. Through education and training, the office creates opportunities that develop and enhance internal skills and competencies that foster an inclusive environment.

Site Navigation

Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

Academic Days

Picture yourself in the classroom, speak with professors in your major, and meet current students.

Upcoming Events

From sports games to concerts and lectures, join the ODU community at a variety of campus events.