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Coming together for Unity Fest

By Van Faust-Stephenson | vfauststephenso@radford.edu

This past Saturday, the second annual Unity Fest was held in the Dedmon Center.

The event was made to bring Radford together as one and bring awareness to several on-campus clubs, including R-Space and Spectrum, and organizations, including the Diversity Awareness Program and the Student Government Association.

These clubs and organizations also helped to organize and promote Unity Fest, alongside others such as Greek Life, the Black Student Alliance, and the Residential Hall Association, with the SGA being the ‘head’ of the event’s organization and planning.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps worked as volunteers at the event.

Other companies, such as Starshine Events, also attended to give their other forms of entertainment and fun, like airbrush tattoos and face-painting.

Several blow-up obstacle courses were located around the event as well.

The event’s main stage, while playing music some of the time, had a large emphasis on bringing on speakers and performers with a focus on diversity.

One such speaker, Nia Naomi Johnson, a sophomore at Radford University and self-published author, was contacted by the SGA to recite some of her poetry during the event.

Johnson says that her poetry speaks of “Blackness, spirituality, culture, and real-life experiences.” She also hopes that “Whoever’s listening can gain something from what I’m saying.”

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As well, the poem that she recited on stage mainly focused on activism with the advice of “remind yourself of yourself before submitting yourself to activism,” and the beautifully written line of “We don’t die, we multiply and change the course of history.”

Johnson’s works are available for purchase online at onlynianaomi.com or on Amazon.

If you would like to perform an act or story related to the event, it seems that the Unity Fest Twitter (@RadfordUnityFest) will be open to applicants for next year similar to how they were this year.

The event seemed particularly energetic due to its subject matter of inclusiveness and diversity being in direct contrast to significant changes to law and ethics caused by the Trump administration.

Though despite these changes, Radford still aims to be a progressive campus/university and this event only highlights this strive.

Further, it shows just how diverse the campus of Radford is, despite the climate of the area surrounding it.

Unity Fest is aimed to bring the students of Radford University together as it can be seen in the organized photo of students coming together to spell out ‘UNITY’ outside of Heth Hall, similar to each year’s picture of students spelling out their graduation year.

Moreover, with the event’s aim, we can only hope that it succeeded in building a greater community of Radford students where they can foster love, growth, diversity, and inclusiveness. Alternatively, at the very least, let some students make new friends.

Photo Credit: (Radford Unity Fest – Cover Photo, Dylan Lepore – Editor-in-Cheif)

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