On Feb. 15, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus will be celebrating diversity with the grand opening of a Hall of Nations, which will be located on the Davis Fuels Walkway.
“For the most part, it’s been an empty hallway with a vending machine and some tables that people could use as a quiet study space,” said Nick DeSumma, chair of the Students’ Union board, chief governance office and a student at Laurier’s Brantford campus.
“Through the Student Live levy in Brantford, last winter of 2016, there was an application put in by the Centre for Student Life and Engagement to utilize that space as a Hall of Nations. Just as Waterloo has in the dining hall, so the application was approved for funding.”
Approximately 50 flags will be raised and displayed along the walls.
Five of the 50 flags will recognize First Nations territories: Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, Anishinabek Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, as well as Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nations.
The countries being represented will be: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Botswana, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordon, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Trinidad, Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, with separate flags for England and Ireland, the United States of America, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
“There are students on campus who have ties to the countries,” DeSumma said, explaining the process of selecting which countries would be represented.
“It’s to show and celebrate the diversity of the Brantford campus, and hopefully strengthen the connection between international and Aboriginal students in the Brantford Laurier campus and community.”
In 2010, Laurier’s Waterloo campus underwent a similar project with 70 countries represented. It was described as an acknowledgment of diversity throughout the Waterloo campus by the then Diversity and Equity Office manager, Adam Lawrence.
“As a student on the Brantford campus, I really like it. I think it’s a great initiative. I always loved when I went to Waterloo for the first couple times, a few years ago, seeing flags in the dining halls; I thought that was one of the most amazing pieces that Laurier had to offer,” DeSumma said.
DeSumma also noted how the display represented the diversity and inclusion within the Laurier community.
“Regardless of which campus I was from, regardless of what country my family originates from, I felt like I was included. So seeing that on the Brantford campus, for me, I appreciate and want to be able to celebrate that diversity that we have at Laurier,” DeSumma said.