George Washington Week to focus on diversity, heritage

Annual celebration of university's namesake sponsored by honorary Lock & Chain

George Washington (as depicted in 2011 by then-sophomore Chris Wilburn) makes an annual appearance at George Washington Week on the WUSTL campus.
George Washington (as depicted in 2011 by then-sophomore Chris Wilburn) makes an annual appearance at George Washington Week on the WUSTL campus.

The annual George Washington Week at Washington University in St. Louis, sponsored by the sophomore honorary Lock & Chain, kicks off on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 20.

This year’s theme for the week is “Who is WU?” Carriage rides, keynote speakers, community service and silent auctions all are being organized with a focus on diversity and heritage on the WUSTL campus and in the greater St. Louis-area community.

The honorary has two goals with events this week: Bringing awareness to the immigrant communities in St. Louis and removing the stigmatization of the word “immigrant”; and celebrating the diverse heritages of WUSTL students.

“What is unique about this year’s George Washington Week is that we are trying to start a dialogue on campus about issues of immigration, diversity and heritage, in the hopes that students will take a step back and reflect on these issues and how they affect our daily lives,” says event co-chair Michele Hall, a sophomore in political science and African & African-American studies, both in Arts & Sciences.

Lock & Chain is a 15-person organization dedicated to promoting civic engagement both at WUSTL and in the greater St. Louis area.

Activities throughout the week honor the university’s namesake. (Credit: Joe Angeles)

In addition to organizing George Washington Week, the honorary hosts an annual used book sale that provides students with affordable textbooks, sponsors campus events that help to unite the WUSTL community and engages in community service that aims to combat educational inequality.

Some highlights of George Washington week include:

Washington’s birthday celebration, Monday, Feb 20, Danforth University Center

Horse and buggy rides will be available outside the DUC from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. At 12:30 p.m., Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will cut a special birthday cake for the university’s namesake in Tisch Commons. At 7 p.m., Ibby’s will be the venue for an open mic night, with a special theme of poems about heritage and diversity. Members of the poetry group WUSlam will perform.

Keynote speaker: Shanti Parikh, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, Simon Hall, May Auditorium

Parikh, PhD, associate professor of anthropology and of African and African-American studies, both in Arts & Sciences, will speak about love and sexuality, and how these human elements transcend the differences among people and in some ways that these elements connect different heritages. There also will be a discussion on the immigrant communities in St. Louis, as well as a question-and-answer session.

7th Annual ALAS Symposium on Latino Contributions: Education, Dreams, Immigration, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, Danforth University Center, Tisch Commons

WUSTL’s Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) showcases undergraduate and graduate work on Latin America and Latino culture and society.

A Night of Giving, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, Danforth University Center, Tisch Commons

A silent auction, featuring the a capella music of WUSTL’s Mosaic Whispers, the Piker and the Stereotypes, will take place with proceeds going to the International Institute of St. Louis.

WUnity Ball, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, Lopata Gallery

A semiformal dance with food and music aims to bring together all university communities.

Day of Service, 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, Alumni House

Lock & Chain is teaming up with Student Union for a day of service to the St. Louis community.

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