UNITY Project: Adding to St. Lawrence's Traditions | St. Lawrence University

UNITY Project: Adding to St. Lawrence's Traditions

Each year, St. Lawrence University students find innovative ways to bring the campus community together throughout the year to celebrate each Laurentian’s uniqueness while strengthening ties to one another. The UNITY Project is one example of a student initiative that has quickly become a favorite annual campus tradition.

The project, now in its fourth year at St. Lawrence, is a national interactive art project that was launched in early 2016 in response to the negative rhetoric in American politics, according to their website. It was created to raise consciousness about the labels people give themselves and others and explore how those labels both support and limit building interconnected, interesting communities.

The project consists of 32 posts, ranging from topics such as political affiliation, religious beliefs, and the places community members call home. St. Lawrence participants tie scarlet and brown yarn to posts that reflect their identities. Their yarn intertwines with others’ to create a web of interconnectedness.

Shedrack M. Bogonko ’22, a government and business in the liberal arts major from Nakuru, Kenya, has been involved in organizing the event since he arrived at St. Lawrence three years ago.

“Each year I learn to appreciate how diverse the St. Lawrence University community is,” he says. “It is a project that provokes conversations amongst us and helps us realize how connected we are, even during difficult times. We are all unique in our ways and bring something special to the table.”

The event launched on Wednesday, Sept. 23, where members of the community spoke during the virtual Opening Ceremony, including St. Lawrence President William L. Fox ’75.

“There is no word more important today than unity,” Fox said. “The idea behind [the project] is not something that’s monolithic or singular, but something that is made up of many strands of belonging, of identity, of tradition. Whether those traditions be matters of place, matters of family, or matters of faith, they all form, in the end, the wonderful ball of existence that comes together with strands intertangling with other strands to form this ball of unity, which looks so much like the planet Earth, our globe, encircled by the lines of longitude and latitude that hold it together in the net of humanity.”

St. Lawrence’s UNITY Project will remain open until Wednesday, Oct. 14, and is taking place near Creasy Commons in the grove of trees between Hepburn Hall and Park Street. Current students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate and instructions for self-guided participation are available at the display for the duration of the project. To ensure the project remains a safe experience, only five participants can be within the circle participating at one time.