Students represent their roots in ‘Rep Yo Flag’ event

Taking a break from showing school spirit by donning Allegheny apparel, students gathered to showcase a different kind of pride — pride for their countries, hometowns and identities.

The “Rep Yo Flag” event was sponsored by Allegheny Student Government’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee — spearheaded by Director of Diversity and Inclusion Faith Simms, ’19, and Class of 2021 Senator Taylor Marzouca — and took place April 5, in Schultz Banquet Hall. All flags and pinpoints of pride were welcomed — whether they were symbolic of a specific country, city or group attendees identify with.

Simms said she cannot claim the event idea as her own and instead, said that it was a collaborative effort made by her committee to create a fun event after a series of student protests during the fall 2018 semester.

“We really just wanted to provide a fun event where people can come and rep where they’re from or even if that wasn’t applicable to them, they could have just have fun with good music, good food and good people,” Simms said.

Flags were represented through T-shirts, hats, miniature flags and decorations displayed throughout the banquet hall. As attendees entered Schultz, colorful lights shone on their faces, and music played throughout the building.

“I think everybody had a good time,” Simms said. “There’s never too many opportunities to rep your diversity.”

Traditional dances from countries like Jamaica and Columbia were performed, and students joined hands to participate. Others ate pizza and wings and mingled with other attendees.

Simms said planning the event during the same weekend as Springfest was a mistake, but she was pleased with the turnout and was happy the international theme worked well with the overall theme of Springfest weekend: Chompers Around the World.

“I think it went pretty well,” Simms said. “I know that events sometimes have a hard time thriving, especially in Schultz because it is kind of far off, but we had a lot of good marketing. We reached out to some people. We had a student DJ (George Opara, ’19) who advertised for us as well.”

For Marzouca, she thinks having a supportive community is key to creating a cohesive and welcoming college campus. She thinks students are in a stressful period of their lives where some may feel lost. Marzouca said the “Rep Yo Flag” event was meant to help create a sense of community and camaraderie among students by showing support for one another and where they come from.

Sophia Russell, ’22, attended the event and said she thought it was a welcoming experience that she would like to see happen again on Allegheny’s campus.

“I thought it would be cool,” Russell said. “I’ve never been to a flag party before … I think it’s the diversity and despite the fact that I actually don’t know some of the flags that are hanging on the walls, I think it’s still cool to see them still being represented.”

Marzouca serves as the secretary for the Diversity and Inclusion committee and hopes to plan a similar event next year. While she wishes the committee had publicized the event more, Marzouca was impressed with the event’s attendance.

“I really want to put on a second version of this, and maybe advertise it more,” Marzouca said. “This is … last minute with how we planned it, but we definitely got a good turnout.”