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Randolph to celebrate campus diversity with UNITY project

Grants coordinator Jeannie Plybon holds signs that represent her.The Randolph College community will use an interactive art project to promote and raise awareness about diversity this week.

The Unity Project, which kicks off on Friday, consists of 32 posts, each with identifiers like “I speak English as a second language” or “I am a spiritual person.” Participants tie colorful yarn to posts that reflect their identities, and those individual strands of yarn intertwine with the yarn of others, creating a web of connectedness.

Brian Crosby '16, assistant men's lacrosse coach, holds a sign that represents him.The project will begin with a dedication ceremony on the Bell Quad lawn Friday, September 23, at noon. Eva Heitbrink ’17, Student Government president, and Paula Wallace, associate dean of the College, will speak about UNITY and its purpose. Following the ceremony, members of the campus community will be invited to begin building the College’s UNITY structure.

Sara Hirst, assistant director of Randolph’s Counseling Center and director of violence prevention and victim advocacy, said Randolph’s project is about providing a sense of hope as well as challenging the campus community to be mindful of labels and to be respectful of others’ opinions.

“UNITY is about more than creating a beautiful piece of art in Bell Quad,” Hirst said. “It’s about cultivating an inner awareness that we all have choices to make—choices that dramatically shape the kinds of conversations we are able to have and the communities we are able to build.”

The UNITY structure will be on view through Friday, September 30, when participants will be invited to cut down the strings and use them to create bracelets and other memorabilia. Hirst said the goal is to educate the campus community both about themselves and those around them.

“We hope that people will remember the image of many voices coming together to make a unified whole, particularly during those times when they are challenged by someone else’s opinion or worldview,” she said. “And we hope that this project inspires our community to take what they learn and translate it into action—that each and every one of us will do something to make our community and our world a kinder, more respectful, and compassionate place.”

Hermina Hendricks, director of Multi-Cultural Services and instructor in music, holds signs that represent her.UNITY is co-sponsored by Student Government, multicultural affairs, the dean of students, and the dean of the College. Find more information about UNITY at and “Like” the UNITY at Randolph Facebook page for updates on the project.

Randolph College UNITY project schedule:

  • Friday, September 23, noon: Opening dedication
  • Saturday, September 24, Noon–4 p.m.: Open participation hours (also open to guests attending Family Weekend)
  • Sunday, September 25, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Open participation hours (also open to guests attending Family Weekend)
  • Monday, September 26–Thursday, September 29: UNITY structure on view. Reflective questions will be posted on the UNITY at Randolph Facebook page.
  • Friday, September 30, TBD: UNITY structure taken down.
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