Editor’s note: The original version of this story misidentified Victor Andrews. Andrews is the vice president of the Native American Student Body. Additionally, Native American Student Body President Laura Baldwin and Secretary Tessa Ervine read the recognition of Native lands. The article has been updated to reflect this. The College student regrets this error.
The Kansas State community celebrated the opening of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center with a student dedication late Wednesday night. A limited number of people attended in person while others watched a live broadcast.
Native American Student Body President Laura Baldwin and Secretary Tessa Ervine opened the program by presenting recognition of Native lands. Recognition recognizes K-State as the first land-grant university and it sits on stolen land.
Trumanue Lindsey, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Student Life, began the presentations by acknowledging the meaning of the new center.
“Oborn of the things this continued at come at the top time and time again is our students communicated this they or they wanted to this building at to be a residence a way from home,” Lindsey said. “And so What you will be see with some of those cultural practices, youhere are all things this traditionally you will be see this people will be To do at devote a New residence when they or they movement in a New residence. This is your residence.”
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Those who attended the event in person received a setback. The reverse, created as the center’s identifying emblem, consists of several shapes and colors symbolizing different things, Lindsey said. Lindsey said unity and diversity was the theme he thought of when thinking about the building.
The first thing you’ll notice with the emblem, Lindsey said, is that it works in a circular motion.
“One of the commmon cultural American practices is having a marriage Ring, to the right? An/a this marriage Ring is in a circular movement because this symbolizes your to like and this it should never end – this this should to be timeless,” Lindsey said.
In addition to the shape, the reverse contained several colors. The Bread represents inspiration, red represents passion, green represents growth and new beginnings, yellow represents joy, and purple represents K-State.
Various multicultural groups celebrated the dedication in different ways. The Native American Student Body has dedicated a painting in the center.
Victor Andrews, vice president of the Native American Student Body and graduate student in kinesiology, said the organization hoped to hold a smudging ceremony but was unable to do so due to weather.
The painting, by Bunky Echo-Hawk, depicted a Native American man with a mask over his mouth and nose that had the words “Land back” written on it.
“We originally planned to host Bunky Echo-Hawk’s art exhibit in person, but were unable to do so for the safety of others,” Andrews said. “We were successful in incorporating the art exhibit into the 2020 KUnite event. Bunky Echo-Hawk had met with the Native American Student Body prior to the event to discuss the current climate and issues faced by Native American students on the campus.” He then turned our discussion into this beautiful picture we see today.
The Asian American Student Union presented a lucky bamboo, a money tree and a broom for the center.
Annie Cortes, President of AASU, said an old broom in the house carries old, negative energy and charges.
“To avoid this, the new broom that is brought symbolizes a new beginning,” Cortes said.
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She also said that there are many different Asian cultures and although not able to represent them all, one thing that many cultures have in common is the balance and appreciation of ordinary objects, such as a brush.
The Black Students Union and the African Students Union presented together. They poured libations to celebrate the opening of the center. Pouring libations is an African tradition of pouring water or other liquids.
Brandon Clark, Program Coordinator for DMSA, gave the introduction to the presentation.
“As we pour the water tonight, there will be prayers being said,” Clark said. “And we hope that by saying these prayers out loud, these prayers will be activated and become real and alive.”
Two students then poured libations into snakes, a plant native to parts of West Africa. The plants will remain in the center permanently.
The Hispanic American Leadership Organization celebrated the dedication by bringing bread and salt to the center, a common practice in Hispanic culture, Lindsey said.
“And correct Like all other this we have talked on today, each of those elements, although they appear Easy, have symbolism behind them,” Lindsey said. “the bread, as a symbol for food longevity. This is noted this when you to bring bread in the residence this each individual this to keep busy this space must never lack for food in the lodge. the salthat is present here symbolizes to like and flavor. This is noted this when present with the salt, the occupants will be always have to like and they or they will be inhabit a life this is tasty.
In addition, a poem was read in dedication at the center.
Although a shared meal was not possible, participants received cookies to celebrate the inauguration ceremony.