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‘Unity Walk’ rescheduled for Feb. 28

Editor's Note: This article, originally published on Feb. 8, has been updated. The Unity Walk had originally been planned for Thursday, Feb. 16, but was rescheduled after a water main break in the City of Athens resulted in the closure of the Athens Campus on Feb. 16.

Building upon a tradition launched last year, Ohio University’s International Student Union (ISU) is once again inviting members of the OHIO and surrounding communities to participate in an event celebrating the diversity and unity of the Bobcat family.

OHIO’s second annual Unity Walk will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. An estimated 200 people participated in last year’s inaugural Unity Walk, a student-led initiative. 

“The best part was the diversity of the group,” Hashim Pashtun, president of ISU who is pursuing his doctoral degree in civil engineering, said of last year’s event. “We had international students, students from Sorority and Fraternity Life, students from the LGBTQ community, veterans, activists and conservatives participate in this celebration.”

During this year’s Unity Walk, participants will gather at Wolfe Garden, located between Alden Library and Cutler Hall. At 4 p.m., the group will walk around the campus’ historic College Green before heading to the Baker University Ballroom for refreshments, giveaways and one of the goals of the event – conversation. 

Those gathered in the Ballroom will be invited to share their personal experiences, concerns and hopes – all as a means of engaging in a meaningful community conversation. According to Pashtun, the discussions will be participant-led.

“These conversations are so important because they raise awareness and help us relate to one another,” said Pashtun. “Before we judge, before we perceive, before we stereotype, we need to listen to each other’s stories and concerns.”

Pashtun added that the goals of the event remain the same as last year – to celebrate the diversity of the OHIO community, to help its members communicate with and understand each other, and to leave participants feeling hopeful about the future of OHIO’s Athens Campus.

“If you are oppressed, you should come to the event to share it. If you are not, you should come to support those who are,” said Pashtun. “If you are a freshman, you should come to help make a better future here. If you are about to graduate, you should come to leave a legacy.

“No matter your color, gender, nationality or anything else, we want you to come as a Bobcat,” Pashtun added. “We want to continue the legacy OHIO has always had of being a welcoming place.”

For Pashtun, a highlight of last year’s inaugural event was the diversity of those who participated, many of whom carried banners and flags during the week to represent their respective colleges, organizations and affiliations.

“My favorite part about the event last year was the stories that were shared,” said Pashtun. “We had a student from Sorority and Fraternity Life share how she is stereotyped for being in a sorority. A gay student shared his story. A Jewish student shared his story. It was very touching to hear everyone’s experiences and to know they felt comfortable enough to share.”

This year’s Unity Walk is being funded by ISU but has received support from many organizations on campus, including the Office of the President, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the Patton College of Education, the Honors Tutorial College and University College.

For more information on the Unity Walk, click here