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Campus links in unity for 'Hands Across MTSU' event

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Hundreds of MTSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters formed a human chain from one end of campus to the other Monday (Nov. 6) as part of the campuswide Hands Across MTSU event to promote unity and solidarity across Blue Raider campus. (MTSU ph


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- MTSU graduate student Ayodeji "DJ" Makinde was proud to join hands with hundreds of other students, faculty, staff and alumni Monday (Nov. 6) for a show of unity that Makinde says was already evident on the Blue Raider campus.

Beginning at 12:30 p.m., the True Blue family formed a human chain from one end of campus to the other in the midday campuswide event -- Hands Across MTSU -- as a show of solidarity across a diverse campus.

"This is just to signify that regardless of where we come from or what color, we are all one," said Makinde, a Nigerian native and international student studying business. "There's nothing like unity. When there's unity, the sky is the limit. MTSU is great about that."

With a variety of student, faculty and staff volunteers helping organize the human chain, Student Government Association President Courtney Brandon used the loudspeaker set up next to the registration tent on the Student Union Commons urging participants to find their spots.

Participants linked hands for about 15 minutes in between classes to promote solidarity and celebrate the university's diversity, said Brandon, who was impressed that so many different student organizations, faculty and staff -- including President Sidney A. McPhee -- from throughout campus turned out on the overcast day.

"The turnout has been amazing," she said, as the catchy Black Eyed Peas' song "Where is the Love?" played in background.

Those participating checked in before the event at one of the tents set up at the Student Union, the Quad, Keathley University Center or Peck Hall to sign the register and get their free "Hands Across MTSU" T-shirt while supplies lasted.

MTSU sophomore and Blue Raider golf team member Tyler Johnson of Knoxville, Tennessee, was among the early birds to get his T-shirt.

"It's important for everybody to be together as a university and I feel like ... it always has been," Johnson said. "Even with everything going on, as a whole, it's a good place to be."

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, said the event is one of several programs and activities resulting from President Sidney A. McPhee's recent meeting with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board.

The event mirrored the 1986 Hands Across America event where Americans "embraced each other in a human chain" to show their support in the fight against hunger and homelessness.

Hands Across MTSU celebrated the university's strength through its diversity and "is meant to be a living, breathing symbol of that strength," she said.
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