5 Special Celebrations and Traditions at Minority Serving Institutions

We are officially in the season of celebration.  Thanksgiving has just passed and a number of holidays are quickly approaching.  To get us more in the spirit of celebration this week’s Monday Morning MSI Lineup highlights five celebrations and traditions found at various MSIs.  Celebrations and traditions are ways for community to be built, bonds to be forged, and connections to be fortified. These MSIs have done just that with these unique and special traditions.

jubilee day1.) Jubilee Day – Fisk University
The celebration of Jubilee Day occurs annually at Fisk on October 6th. On that day in 1871, the original group of nine students and their music professor, George L. White, began their first tour to raise operating funds for the University. Through their sacrifice and perseverance, the group’s earnings paid for the construction of Jubilee Hall, the first permanent building in America erected for the education of African Americans. During their first tours, the Singers also contributed tour earnings to The Great Chicago Fire victims in 1871 and were invited to perform at The White House by President Ulysses Grant in 1872. In 1873, the group grew to eleven members and performed for the heads of Europe, including Queen Victoria.

white dress2.) The White Dress Tradition -Spelman College
Spelman College proudly maintains a significant balance between acknowledging our time-honored traditions and establishing new and beneficial opportunities to forward the institutional mission and vision into the 21st century and beyond. The wearing of white dresses on designated official occasions is among the most well-respected and treasured of the College’s traditions.

In the spirit of this tradition, all first-year students are required to wear this “traditional white dress ensemble” for the New Student Orientation Induction Ceremony. The same policy holds true for the Founders Day Convocation, and graduating seniors are required to wear this same attire underneath the academic regalia for Founders Day, Class Day, Baccalaureate and Commencement. Additionally, it is requested that alumnae wear this attire when attending the Founders Day Convocation, related Founders Day activities hosted by alumnae and chapters of the Alumnae Association around the country, and for the March through the Alumnae Arch held during Reunion.

sheep as life3.) Sheep is Life Celebration – Diné College
The Sheep is Life Celebration honors the central role that sheep play in Navajo spirituality, philosophy, and daily life, and brings together people from many cultures who share these values. Sheep is Life emphasizes the role of sheep and fiber arts in the evolution of cultures. Discussions at the celebration take up issues relating to livestock and agriculture in the Southwest; technical assistance opportunities for sheep and wool producers; and the philosophy and spirituality of sheep cultures.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????4.) Walking on Water – Florida International University
For over two decades, sophomore architecture students who take Professor Jaime Canaves’ class have had a seemingly impossible assignment: Walk on water. More than 1,500 students later, the class project has become a university tradition that attracts parents, faculty, staff and fellow students to watch the race at the lake behind the Green Library. The winner receives $500 and an A on the assignment. Everyone else who crosses the 175-foot-wide lake also gets an A and the opportunity to drop their lowest grade. Some notable facts: The youngest person to walk across the lake was 9 years old in 1998. The oldest, at 67, walked across in 2009. The fastest has been timed at 1 minute 23 seconds, in 2005. The slowest have been over the 15 minute mark (multiple years). Most winners have taken about 1 minute 30 seconds to cross.  The first students to participate in this FIU tradition crossed the lake in the fall of 1990.

PIU days5.) PIU Days – Pacific Islands University
PIU Days is a celebration of God’s goodness to the school and thankfully remembering the founders and many servants of God who have made PIU a reality. This celebration takes place Friday through Sunday prior to Spring Break. Each year a passage of scripture is selected and three teams are created. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate and are assigned to one of the three teams. The teams compete in sports, skits, singing, cheering and many other fun events. Each night, one of the teams hosts a campus program that includes songs, skits, games and a message from the Word.

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