Student leaders meet to plan ‘Unity Week

There were no objections to the idea of Unity Week when it was introduced to student leaders on Friday by Student Government president Fabrice Armand. Currently there are some scheduling conflicts with Greek Week events.

Armand would like to see Unity Week become a tradition much like homecoming week is at many other colleges. The purpose, he said, will be to promote solidarity among a diverse group of student organizations.

"We used to have homecoming, we don’t even have that anymore," Armand said.

Unity Week would consist of numerous events sponsored by the many student organizations active at St. John’s. Some of the events discussed were a comedy night sponsored by the Student Programming Board and Residence Hall Association; an international day filled with food, music and dancing, hosted by the University’s cultural organizations, and a voter registration drive overseen political organizations.

Concerns involving scheduling conflicts with St. John’s annual Greek Week held by the Interfraternity and Pan-Hellenic Councils were raised. The IFC and the Pan-Hellenic council will be involved in the Unity Week events.

An example of one such conflict is the tentative schedule for Thursday of that week. The IFC and Pan-Hellenic council have scheduled the annual lip sync, a Greek Week tradition. A step show has also been scheduled by the African & Latino Fraternal/Sororal Alliance. Both events are scheduled to be held in Alumni Hall on Thursday evening. Each show is expected to run at least four hours.

One suggestion to resolve this issue was to change the order of events so the two would not be held in the same venue, on the same day, giving ample time for each event.

Armand said that he has agreed to attend the first Pan-Hellenic/IFC meeting of the semester in hopes to compromise and resolve this issue.

According to Armand, none of the events have been confirmed except for a black music festival, to be hosted by Haraya on Friday of that week.

"As of Friday’s meeting, our plans were not finalized, and plans for Greek Week were also not confirmed," said Student Government vice president Louis Saavedra.

Jim Pellow, Executive vice president and University treasurer, first suggested the idea of a Unity Week at a recent meeting between University officials and SGI representatives, said Saavedra.

Planning is still in the "early stages," he added. "It is expected to be finalized over the next few weeks. At this point no other scheduling problems are known."

A series of weekly meetings are being called to finalize plans for the week’s events, tentatively scheduled to begin March 29.

As for the question of whether or not individual budgets will allow organizations to participate in Unity Week, Armand said that extra funding may be possible.

The next meeting will be held today at 6 p.m. in the University Center.