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Education

OCC's Bi-Annual Unity Day Celebration Takes On More Meaning for Students Amid Chaotic Year

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provided photo
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Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College students came together the best they could during a pandemic to celebrate Unity Day Wednesday.

“We have to do this. We have to keep doing Unity Day, especially now. Because we are not coming to school, we are not socializing as much, so I feel like now is when we need it the most,” said Keila Arencibia, a third year nursing student originally from Cuba.

Most of the activities were virtual this year, but she says there was a good response.  Unity Day celebrates the diversity of the campus community through arts, crafts, food demonstrations and other forms of expression.  Arencibia says students need some hope given the pandemic, political division, and racial strife.

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Students painted tiles that will create a Cardi B mosaic.

“There are a lot of things going on, and a lot of people are afraid of this year and they want to be done with this year, but I think the most important thing is to stay together.”

By organizing the event, Arencibia has learned about sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug addiction, homelessness, and hunger.

“I’ve seen how grateful the students are when we do these kinds of things, when we come together. A lot of them have gone through all those things.  It just makes me sad, because I feel like we need to do more.”

She credits teachers and staff at OCC for making sure students’ needs are met, from computers to food.  In this way, she says the school is there not just for class, but to be a family.

More photos can be seen on OCC's Facebook page.