OC Homecoming: Celebrating Without Imitating

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To recognize and celebrate cultural diversity on Oklahoma Christian University’s campus, the 2017 Oklahoma Christian Homecoming Committee recently revealed its theme for this year: “Bringin’ It Home: Destination OC.”

For homecoming festivities, Oklahoma Christian social service clubs will choose a country the university is associated with to represent through floats, costumes and banners.

Several safeguards have been put in place to ensure cultural misappropriation is avoided, including each club choosing a student or alum from their chosen country to be a representative. Club members will consult their representative for costume, float and banner designs to make sure each idea respects and honors the designated culture.

Along with representatives, the homecoming committee, Student Life, the International Office and SGA’s Multicultural Committee, must approve each club’s ideas.

Although I believe this year’s homecoming theme has an important message to honor all walks of life, I can see how easily students, or even the outside public, could wrongly depict homecoming activities.

As a social service club member, I will be participating in all festivities, and while the theme should not be bashed, each club member should be aware of the possibility to offend others, even though the offense may not be intentional.

As Oklahoma Christian students, we have an incredible opportunity to attend such a diverse university. I have had several experiences since my freshman year in which I met individuals from all over the world, and those experiences have helped shape my worldview and shift my perspective.

Understanding different cultures is important for all individuals, because this understanding helps us relate and learn about one another to help us better love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This homecoming season, I urge each club to walk the line carefully when it comes to representing cultures not their own. It is so easy to get caught up in the fun rush of homecoming and forget the purpose behind the theme — celebrate different cultures; do not try to imitate them.

International students, thank you for bringing such incredible diversity to our campus. This homecoming season is meant to honor you, and I hope each club is able to represent your culture to the best of their abilities.

Club students, respect the safeguards put in place by this year’s homecoming committee. Do not attempt to fully understand the culture in which you are representing. Instead, seek to respectfully acknowledge and revere the cultures in which so many students and alumni hold dear.

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