SPIRIT organizes week of cultural activities

Three years ago, Cortney Ricketts and Darren Canady, then Black Awareness Committee Chairs of SPIRIT, jump-started a week-long celebration of black culture. Now in 2005, the week still includes events spread throughout the week, with a few unique additions added to the lineup this year. The culminating culture-focused talent show, though, called the Cabaret, was rescheduled for December 11.

Since SPIRIT?s spring agenda is already packed with activities like the fashion show, booth, and buggy, they decided to put Ricketts and Canady?s plan into action during the fall semester.

Brian Orr, this year?s Black Awareness Committee Chair, said, ?We really just wanted to do something in the fall to increase membership and also to give the incoming freshmen something to immediately be a part of.?

This year?s theme was ?Montage.? According to SPIRIT?s president, Roman Ivey, SPIRIT?s goal has been to get everyone involved, including alumni, the CMU community, and its organizations. ?We wanted a more united front,? Orr added.

The Black Awareness Committee of SPIRIT continued to use the first week as a model and met regularly for two months to plan the events. However, Ivey said, ?We try to do new things. We try to be a little more ambitious with our programs.?

With the help of Student Activities and the Carnegie Mellon Advising Resource Center (CMARC), the committee was able to fill each night with a unique event.

The week started with an opening celebration in which black faculty spoke to students about their passions and classes they were planning on teaching. Some events throughout the week included showing and discussing Higher Learning, a film on the racial and gender issues involved in higher education; an Alumni meet-and-greet; a community service event; and a performance by BridgeSpotters, a spoken word group.

Beyond preparing for SPIRIT week, the Black Awareness Committee has other projects in line. They are also active in organizing events for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Black History Month. Ivey explained that this year they plan to work with the Black Graduate Association, the Black Business Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), and CMARC to come out with a stronger and richer program for the appreciation and celebration of black culture.
Upon reflection, Orr was happy with SPIRIT Week?s events and the people they were able to involve. ?Each night [got] a different crowd, which is good. It helps show the different facets of our organization,? Orr said.