Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

EMU awards special recognition to minority and international students

Students of color prepare to celebrate at EMU's Multicultural Graduation

On Friday, Dec. 15, at 5 p.m., the Student Center will open as roughly a hundred students of color and their families celebrate the Multicultural Graduation.

This free event hosted by the Center of Race and Ethnicity each semester is a separate ceremony that acknowledges and celebrates the culture of graduating students of color; both domestic and international.

CORE graduate assistant, Kennedy Parker, considers the Multicultural Graduation CORE’s staple event.

“We have had spoken word in the past, singing, and everything like that. We like to conclude it with our annual swag surf, which I think is always really nice,” Parker said. “So there is just a lot of art within this ceremony and just giving people kind of that chance to really recognize how great students of colors are.”

One of the performers for this semester’s graduation is Jonae, a Detroit native and senior music therapy student here at Eastern Michigan.

Erin Flynn, the Echo’s news editor, will be graduating this semester and believes it is important for a predominantly white institution such as Eastern to host the Multicultural Graduation.

“While the other commencement is for everyone, the Multicultural Graduation specifically acknowledges the achievements of students of color. That on its own is a big deal and one that should be celebrated and recognized,” Flynn said.

Seven Brown, another graduating student, is looking forward to being able to celebrate her journey at EMU.

“I decided to participate in the multicultural graduation because as a young black woman I am honored to have even had the opportunity to attend college. This graduation celebrates excellence, but also black excellence. This graduation celebrates not only me but those before me that may not have had the same opportunities as me,” Brown said.

Students who participate will receive a stole and can bring up to eight guests to this ceremony. Both Flynn and Brown plan to bring family and friends from college and their hometown to celebrate with them.

As this event is hosted in both the fall and winter semesters, CORE plans this event months in advance.

“Every small detail you can think of, make it smaller. There is just so much that goes into planning. I mean, you have a big thing of where will you have it, so booking a room. But then you need to do a head count. Then of course, we want to make sure that we feel like the students are heard and represented. So that some of that information in that data will stem from the ceremony that we had before. So what were they saying about this? What can we tweak? What do we want to innovate? … So it is a lot that goes into it, but it all works out in the end,” Parker said.

Flynn, like many students, is looking forward to finally crossing that stage with her peers, which Parker says is one of the best parts of the ceremony.

“My favorite part of any graduation ceremony is when they walk across the stage and the people that they brought with them just go crazy and then their smile brightens up at the last moment that they are just walking on stage,” Parker said. “I think that's such a beautiful conclusion to such a long journey. Because college is long, no matter how long you are in it. It is just such a long time and it is such a commitment. So for your people that you bring to see you and to recognize you and for you to recognize that, you are finished. This is your moment.”

For those looking for information, Parker suggested reaching out to CORE for any updates and for students to check their email.

The event will have free parking at the Student Center Lot and is estimated to last from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.