The Student Government Association launched the ‘1 ODU’ campaign, an initiative recognizing the positive impact of diversity at Old Dominion to bolster campus unity, April 18th in Webb University Center.
“We are a university that strives on diversity,” SGA President Collin Hust said at the ceremony. “If one link out of the ODU chain, one link out of the Monarch family, if one was removed, ODU would not be the same. Whether you realize it or not, all of us make ODU what it is today.”
Dr. Ellen Neufeldt, vice president of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, made opening remarks commending the efforts of SGA to create a campus of solidarity and instill pride in the university and its diversity.
She said the student body’s diversity is something that excites her everyday and makes her proud to be a Monarch, but, above all, it’s what makes the university special.
“We come from different walks of life, difference cultures…. we’re quite a global place,” she said. “Many universities envy what we get to boast about everyday, how diverse we are and how well we come together as one.”
ODU’s diversity was evident at the ceremony as students of all ethnicities crowded in Webb’s front lobby, eager for free pizza, cake and t-shirts.
Freshman human services major Kayli Rivera said diversity is one of the reasons she came to ODU, a sentiment echoed by Syed Hussain, a freshman computer engineering student from Pakistan.
“It seemed like a pretty diverse university when I came here,” he said. “I really got absorbed in American culture. It was really cool to experience… I’ve made a lot of friends from different types of life.”
Josh Devoe, a junior business management and marketing major from Chesapeake, Va., said the diversity at ODU is “really cool.” He said the ‘1 ODU’ campaign was equally cool, and that he liked how SGA is “bringing everyone together and talking about how everyone plays an important part in ODU.”
Students Marc Sanders and Andu Belachew said their favorite part of ODU is the diversity and “togetherness.” Sanders said he considered attending Norfolk State and Virginia Commonwealth University, but chose ODU because of the diversity, where “people from all different walks of life” come together.
Andrew Belachew said he likes that “not everyone is just a single group. It’s not, ‘you’re this ethnicity so you stay with them.’ No, everybody is together, friendly.”
Hust closed the ceremony, saying “ONE ODU is meant to establish a university-wide campaign to unite people beyond diversity, background, and generation by representing Monarch pride and citizenship, so that Monarchs can help each other finish in four and venture into the new world to form a life-long legacy, because everyone is one ODU.”