Unity Walk kicks off homecoming, celebrates family

Hundreds of students joined the eighth annual Unity Walk to kick off the homecoming week activities Monday afternoon.

The event celebrated the diversity of Marshall University’s student body with a walk around the campus perimeter. 

“So, this is about a family reunion, we call it unity,” Associate Vice President of Intercultural Affairs and Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, Maurice R. Cooley, said. “I want you to know that even when you graduate in your degree or your advanced degree, and many of you will travel off to places around the country or around the world, you must always know every day that you do have your own family, not your biological DNA roots, but you are all part of the Marshall University family.”

Starting at the Recreation Center, groups representing various clubs and student organizations on campus began walking through campus, then they split in two directions, merging back together in front of the Old Main building to walk toward the Memorial Student Center.

Cooley said when he first joined the university staff he found that although the students and faculty really enjoyed being a part of the Marshall family, they never truly came together.

“This event is designed to support being a part of the family,” Cooley said. “The concept is pretty simple; we all come in one place, we meet, walk and talk with each other and celebrate together. But more importantly, we want to make sure that our students at the university fully understand the importance of being a part of the extended family that is Marshall.”

The event also announced the winners of the homecoming banner competition; first place went to the Campus Activities Board (CAB). 

Kylie Johnson, a Marshall student and CAB member, said thanks to the event, all its students now belong to one big family. 

“This event is awesome,” Johnson said. “Students come out and support each other no matter what organizations they are from, no matter what ethnicity. And like they say, we are one family.” 

According to Cooley, the Unity Walk also helps support international students.

“We respect your home of origin, it doesn’t matter what country are you from, what race or ethnicity, or your religion,” Cooley said. “We are all here in one place and we are all equal in this place.” 

Esha Patel, a health informatics major at Marshall originally from India, said she was glad that the university has activities that show support for international students.

“The event helps you feel that you are not from the outside,” Patel said. “Everyone showed up and presented as one family. They don’t think of us as the outsiders.”

Homecoming court was also announced at the Unity Walk and Mr. and Ms. Marshall will be announced at the homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 26. 

Phuong Anh Do can be contacted at [email protected]