Diversity makes Florida Tech unique. No matter what clubs you join or which classes you go to, you meet students from different countries, states and backgrounds. In fact in 2015, Florida Tech was number-one in the United States for the most diverse undergraduate population. Diversity goes beyond just the physical and geographical. It can be religious, sexual orientation, age, gender and even a variety of different majors. The options are endless.
As we move into the fall season, unique opportunities present themselves to learn about the beliefs of different students here on campus. Each fall, different cultures celebrate various holidays around the world. Recently, students learned about a few of these varied fall traditions during an event at Panther Bay Apartments.
Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos
Both stem from similar traditions. It was once believed that those who passed on would return to earth to spend time with their loved ones. So people dressed up as ghosts to make the real ghosts feel more at home during their visit. Eventually this tradition evolved and took on different meanings in various locations. In the United States, Halloween was originally more about the tricks that ghosts played. It eventually developed into the trick-or-treat event that we are all so familiar with today. At the Panther Bay event, students made Jack – o – Lanterns as a small reminder of those haunting ghost faces.
The other holiday, Dia de los Muertos, developed in Mexico. Here, people decorate skeletons and dress up in traditional dress with skeleton make-up. Altars are made to remember those who passed on in the previous year. This celebration takes place over two days, Nov. 1-2. The first day is to remember the children that were lost and the second is a celebration for adults. Here, students made skeleton masks, wrote down the names of lost loved ones, and learned that sugar skulls are a gentle reminder to cherish life while you have it.
Students also enjoyed the flavors of a United States Thanksgiving with a piece of pumpkin pie while they thought about what they were thankful for. Almost 40 students wrote what they were thankful for at the Thanksgiving booth. It turns out, many were most thankful for the students that had come with them to the event.
Finally, students learned about the five days of Diwali. What many do not know is that these five days are not all one right after the other. In fact, they are spread throughout a time span of a few weeks. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a time to be thankful for your family and to spend time with loved ones. Those who celebrate Diwali may participate in the making of rangoli or sand designs that are outside main entrances to symbolize welcome. Students got to put their own spin on making rangoli designs to hang in their windows as a small celebration of Diwali.
There are so many events on campus that celebrate cultures and explore diversity. So keep an eye out for them on the student campus calendar.