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Cardinal Courier

Cardinal Courier

The Student News Site of St. John Fisher University

Cardinal Courier

Celebrating the Spirit of Identity

In the spirit of inclusion, the affinity clubs at Fisher have pioneered a new week-long series of events labeled Spirit of Identity Week. Riding the growth of DEI efforts on campus, the groups have transformed Martin Luther King Jr. Day from a single day of remembrance into the festive kick-off of identity celebration.

Prior to January 2022, MLK Jr. day was marked by the Black Student Union’s annual MLK coexistence dinner. The event was well-attended, bringing together members of both the local and campus community in Cleary Auditorium for a meal. However, last January marked the beginning of something new: a week of inclusion as opposed to a day.

When the five affinity club presidents met to discuss the concept of Spirit of Identity Week, their goal was to reach a broader audience. Under the guidance of Dr. Marlowe Washington, the groups planned their respective events over the course of the week. 

“It was great, it came off successful. But, still, it was a problem because it was unto the affinity clubs,” said Dr. Washington. While the events were successful in promoting the idea of inclusion in all forms, the events only attracted those affiliated with the affinity groups. While the influence of last year’s events was limited, this year’s festivities will be hard to miss. 

“This is an event that has all sorts of other events incorporated with every member of the campus from professors, students, administrative departments, academic departments, you name it, everybody’s involved.” Dr. Washington added that the week will include 28-30 events hosted by various organizations and members of our campus. The week will culminate on Jan. 20 with the Festival of Nations. The final event will include a variety of awards as well as a fashion show, celebrating the identities of all. 

Spirit of Identity Week highlights the differences within our individual identities in a way that celebrates them, allowing everyone at Fisher to learn from the experiences of peers. “We come together to really celebrate and learn from each other’s stories, and grow from that and learn from that” said Dr. Washington. 

From opportunities to sit and learn to immersive experiences, the week’s agenda is filled with activities. The Dean’s Students Advisory Council (DSAC) of the School of Business will host a field trip to the Ganondagan State Historic Site to learn about the native history of the area. Other events will be held right on campus, including Dr. Christine Richards’ TED Talk style teach-in. Students will even notice the impact of the week’s events in the dining hall, as they will serve a different culturally inspired dish each day of the week. 

The festivities will take place from Jan. 15 to Jan. 20, 2024. Spirit of Identity week is a time for all students, no matter their background, to celebrate their own identities and to grow from the stories of others. 


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About the Contributor
Mallory Schake, Editor in Chief
Mallory Schake is a junior Media and Communication major. She serves as the Editor in Chief for the Cardinal Courier. Mallory currently covers campus relevant news and events. and she enjoys practicing her photography for her stories. Mallory hopes to pursue a career in journalism and news writing after graduation.
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