MTSU graduate student Ayodeji “DJ” Makinde was proud to join hands with hundreds of other students, faculty, staff and alumni Monday, Nov. 6, for a show of unity that Makinde says was already evident on the Blue Raider campus.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m., the True Blue family formed a human chain from one end of campus to the other in the midday event — Hands Across MTSU — as a show of solidarity across a diverse campus.
“This is just to signify that regardless of where we come from or what color, we are all one,” said Makinde, a Nigerian native and international student studying business.
“There’s nothing like unity. When there’s unity, the sky is the limit. MTSU is great about that.”
With a variety of student, faculty and staff volunteers helping organize the human chain, Student Government Association President Courtney Brandon used the loudspeaker set up next to the registration tent on the Student Union Commons urging participants to find their spots.
Participants linked hands for about 15 minutes between classes to promote solidarity and celebrate the university’s diversity, said Brandon, who added that she was impressed that so many different student organizations, faculty and staff — including President Sidney A. McPhee — from across campus turned out on the overcast day.
“The turnout has been amazing,” she said, as the Black Eyed Peas’ song “Where is the Love?” played in the background.
Participants checked in before the event at one of the tents at the Student Union, the Quad, Keathley University Center or Peck Hall, signing the register and getting a free “Hands Across MTSU” T-shirt while supplies lasted.
MTSU sophomore and Blue Raider golf team member Tyler Johnson of Knoxville, Tennessee, was among the early birds to get his T-shirt.
“It’s important for everybody to be together as a university and I feel like … it always has been,” Johnson said. “Even with everything going on, as a whole, it’s a good place to be.”
Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, said the event is one of several programs and activities resulting from President Sidney A. McPhee’s recent meeting with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board.
The event mirrored the 1986 Hands Across America event where Americans “embraced each other in a human chain” to show their support in the fight against hunger and homelessness.
Hands Across MTSU celebrated the university’s strength through its diversity and “is meant to be a living, breathing symbol of that strength,” she said.
Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/trueblue.
— Jimmy Hart (email@example.com)
Campus to show solidarity Nov. 6 with ‘Hands Across MTSU’
Oct. 31, 2017
MTSU students are spearheading a Nov. 6 campuswide event — Hands Across MTSU — to publicly embrace all members of the Blue Raider community.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters across campus will join hands to form a human chain “to promote unity and solidarity,” said Student Government Association President Courtney Brandon.
Those participating are asked to check in at noon at one of the tents at the Student Union Building, the Quad, the KUC or Peck Hall.
Students who get out of class at 12:25 p.m. should report directly to the line and join hands.
Brandon said the event mirrors the 1986 Hands Across America event where Americans “embraced each other in a human chain” to show their support in the fight against hunger and homelessness.
In this case, Hands Across MTSU “presents the opportunity for members of the True Blue community to simply embrace each other,” she said, adding that SGA, along with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board of students and staff, are sponsoring the event.
“While this was not organized as a direct response to last weekend’s events, it is certainly a very appropriate way to show our resolve and unity as a campus,” Brandon said, referring to the protest rallies held Oct.28 in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro.
“We are proud of the diverse groups that make up our True Blue family.”
Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, echoed Brandon’s sentiments, saying the event is one of several programs and activities resulting from President Sidney A. McPhee’s recent meeting with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board.
“The intent is to simply take a very brief time out in the middle of our day to come together in a physical way to show both the wonderful diversity of our campus, as well as the unity among us,” Sells said.
“It seems especially appropriate right now, when the campus has just experienced the difficulties of grappling with the potentially divisive rally that had been planned for the Murfreesboro Square. At MTSU, we see our diversity as a strength, and the Hands Across MTSU event is meant to be a living, breathing symbol of that strength.”
Sells noted that event is being held between the class periods so that as many people as possible can participate.
“Folks will have to move quickly to get in place so that we can then disperse and get back to the reason we’re here — our studies,” the administrator noted.
Brandon said she’s impressed that so many different student organizations have expressed excitement about and commitment to the event.
“This is our opportunity to express what it means to be True Blue … and it is a wonderful way to reinforce commitment to our True Blue values.”
Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/trueblue.