Oglethorpe’s Campus Life office seeks to promote diversity, inclusiveness, well-being, student engagement and “Petrel Pride,” and recently supported student-led efforts to observe Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Native American Heritage Month on campus.
“I know what it’s like to be a first-generation college student and never see yourself or your culture in academic spaces,” said Nury Castro, coordinator of student engagement. “Observances like these are important because it lets students who have historically been marginalized know that not only do we see them, but we embrace them, we celebrate them, and we are with them. Observances like these also enable a space for dialogue and education.”
Celebrated throughout Mexico, Día de los Muertos is a series of days in which spirits are welcomed back to the realm of the living through the items placed on an ofrenda (altar). An ofrenda on display in the Turner Lynch Campus Center was sponsored by the student organization (H)OLA.
“Students express(ed) that they never realized how much they needed to see efforts like these until they actually happened,” said Castro. “One student told me that they look forward to coming into the TLCC every day because they know they’ll see the ofrenda and it reminds them of their motherland.”
While Día de los Muertos concluded on November 2, the observance of Native American Heritage Month continues throughout November. Based on research by Destini Osby, an international studies major and campus life student assistant, the campus community is invited to explore an immersive exhibit commemorating people of Native American and indigenous descent who were forcibly relocated by the federal government through the Trail of Tears. The exhibit begins near the campus center’s central staircase and continues down the path to the Academic Quad.
Campus Life always welcomes ideas for promoting inclusiveness on campus. Please contact Nury Castro (ncastro2@Oglethorpe.edu) in the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership to share your thoughts.