MU students, faculty unite in celebration of campus family
HUNTINGTON -- Thousands of students pass one another each day as they travel in many directions while experiencing campus life at Marshall University.
On Wednesday, one person on campus sought to change those paths and bring students from every sort of classroom, meeting room, dorm and athletic facility together in celebration of the first "We Are Family ... Unity Walk Celebration" at the Memorial Student Center on campus.
Maurice Cooley, director of the Center for African American Students' Programs at Marshall, said the event was created to give Marshall students the chance to come together and celebrate their unity as members of the Thundering Herd family.
"Everyone here loves Marshall," Cooley said. "There are 45 Marshall University clubs, organizations and athletic teams represented at this event, and, even though we all are part of the same Marshall family, we rarely get together to celebrate the fact that we are in the same family."
Hundreds of students, organized by club, stood around the student center plaza, where the Memorial Fountain is located. In a symbolic gesture, the students in their respective groups simultaneously walked from the adjacent surroundings to the fountain, where they danced, ate and had the chance to represent their own group while hearing about the other groups on campus.
Marshall President Stephen Kopp and Marshall Men's Basketball Coach Tom Herrion each gave speeches to the thriving crowd of students.
Girmay Berhie has been a professor at Marshall for more than 20 years, and he said he was encouraged by what he saw during Wednesday's event.
"I have never seen a time where students and faculty have come together like this," Berhie said. "I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the community, the family of this university than by getting together and celebrating and talking about what we have in common instead of focusing on our differences. That is what the goal of a university should be -- to bring its students together to make a stronger family."
Cooley said he plans to make the event an annual one in which students can "get together, eat, drink, dance and have some fun."