By Jordan Beach
Every student who attends Reinhardt University is unique, with individual backgrounds, experiences and cultural influences that are woven together to create their identity.
Their differences allow them to stand out and become who they were made to be, yet so often they fabricate into unnecessary division, resulting in barriers of isolation.
The Unity Project is an interactive public art project created to break down those barriers and allow students’ differences to shine while simultaneously weaving together a visual representation of how those unique qualities have the ability to bring them together.
On the anniversary of 9/11, Reinhardt’s First-Year Seminar students met at Donor Plaza to participate in the Unity Project. Each thin pole standing in a circle represented a piece of one’s identity—from race to family structure—and as each student threaded their yellow yarn around the poles pertaining to the qualities that make up their own identity, the structure showed that their differences are not so different, after all.
“I feel as if the Unity Project was impactful on the students because it shows that we are all connected in some way,” said Sloane Day, coordinator of student activities.
Day also found this project to be a way to show students attending Reinhardt for the first time that they are not alone, also represented in Student Activities’ efforts during National Suicide Prevention Month with signs of encouragement lining the walkway at the center of campus.
“Being a first-year student, it is sometimes hard to adjust to a new environment. This project allowed the students to be represented and show that everyone is a family here at Reinhardt,” said Day. “It is a symbol of a support system that we all have created together.”
As said by author Max de Pree and shown through this project, accepting diversity offers so many benefits to a community of people: “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing and inclusion.”