Students share their identities at Welcome Week event


Sam Gauntt

Students and faculty connected labels with each identity or group they belong to at an event on the Arnold campus on Thursday.

Sam Gauntt, Managing Editor

Students and faculty chose labels to describe their identities and turned them into a short-term art installation in the Student Union building on Thursday. 

The “Share a Pizz-a Your Identity” event, hosted by the Office of Student Engagement, had participants use colored string to connect labels that had identity words like extrovert, gay, heterosexual, sibling, non-binary or parent, for example. 

By the end of the event, the participants had filled a large bulletin board with a colorful web of various identities. 

“We just thought it was like a really great idea to kind of figure out, [and] just see what kind of identities students on campus connect with and relate to,” Orientation and First-Year Experience Specialist Kyle Godduhn-Braaten said, adding it was a “fun, easy activity to get people kind of excited about the new year.”

The event was the last in a series of back-to-school events hosted during the first week of the spring semester. 

“We’re sort of looking at it like a temporary art installation,” Godduhn-Braaten, one of the organizers of the event, said. “Just something, like, very striking and interesting so that students can sort of think about identity without it being too serious, too intense, and just sort of like make it a daily part of their lives.”

Student Government Association President Abigail Billovits-Hayes said the college has a “wide variety of students on campus, [and we] wanted to give a chance to showcase who they are.”

Students said they enjoyed the event. 

“It was really fun,” first-year radiologic technology student Kelya Teta said. “It was a good idea. … I always come to all the events that are held here.”

Some students said they attended the other welcome-back week events hosted at the college.

“I’m just kind of like in the try everything stage,” first-year American Sign Language student Michael Frey Bourne said. “This is my first week here ever. I came to the tie dye thing that they did on Tuesday as well. I think it’s cool that they’re, like, you know, doing stuff and trying to get people to come and hang out on campus and I, like, get used to the idea of hanging out on campus and not just showing up to take classes and immediately skedaddling.”