By Victoria Krukenkamp
“Please join in on April 22 and let your Warrior Spirit shine,” boasted the campus wide email from President Welsh on April 11.
In celebration of the accomplishments that the ESU community has achieved in the past year, Welsh called the community to the college circle to celebrate on Tuesday.
Welsh’s call was answered by about 20 students and 30 faculty, staff, and administration members, who celebrated despite the rain.
“Like the many Indian tribes before us that settled this great region of the country centuries ago — the Lenni Lenape (the “Unami,” the “Unalachtigo,” and the “Minsi”), the Shawnee and some of the Iroquois — we, at times, see things differently from one another. But the communication they used, the beating of their drums, was symbolic and a commonality they shared. We need to come together as an institution — faculty, staff, students, administration — to actually own everything that is ESU,” wrote Welsh.
Attendees brought drums of all kinds, including buckets, recycling bins, instruments, and one participant even grabbed some loose sticks to bang together.
As every speaker expressed their victories — from WESS’s Woodie Award to the opening of the new G3 Design Lab — the crowd cheered and banged on their drums.
“I just think we have a lot to celebrate, and sometimes we get so mired down in the negative that we forget all that is wonderful about ESU,” said Welsh to the crowd in closing, as the rain picked up and forced the event to end.
Senior Ryan Stevens, an ESU Student Senator enjoyed the event.
“I think it was a great celebration of all that ESU has accomplished in the past year,” said Stevens.
But Senior Reed Milliard disagreed.
“I think a pep rally could have been great but appropriating someone else’s culture was the wrong way to do it,” she said.
Milliard thought sending out a campus wide email that stated the use of drums to celebrate warrior spirit was a stereotype of the Indian culture and “politically incorrect.”
“I think this event was offensive, although meant in good spirit,” she said.
Milliard hopes the next event ESU celebration holds a different theme.
The crowd cheered loudly in response to recognition of the Orientation Leaders — it was this group that had the largest showing at the event.
At an event meant to celebrate the spirit of ESU, the threatening rain seemed to hold back many from attending.
“I would have liked there to have been more faculty here, but they seem to want to stand on the periphery,” said Welsh following the event.
Welsh has great expectations for the future of ESU and hopes this event will bring in a new wave of positivity.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us all to come out and celebrate the things that are good about ESU. I think we focus so much on the things that are wrong or the problems — that people perceive as problems whether they are or not — it’s just really great to have a chance to come out, beat the negative out, and beat the positive in. I think it’s time,” said Welsh.
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