IGC PLOTS SET TO BECOME A REALITY; Division of Student Affairs; May 5, 2021
As racial tensions shook the nation to its core throughout the summer of 2020, the historic rock located at the front of campus became a focal point of derogatory remarks.
At that time, members of the Integrated Greek Council (IGC) took charge, deciding not only that things needed to change but in a meaningful and impactful way for decades to come.
That’s when Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and IGC plots Committee Chair Sydney Evans put together a thoughtful and inspiring letter to the university, which stated in part more needed to be done to recognize Black and Latino students on campus.
The university agreed.
Unveiled during an announcement ceremony via Instagram Live on May 5, the IGC plots will officially be named the Unity Walkway at Manchester Field and be constructed along the sidewalk. There will be eight initial plots built, with room for expansion down the road.
While current students knew of the plans, alumni first heard of the news during the ceremony.
Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) play an essential role on any college campus, and especially at Kent State University, where it will celebrate 100 years throughout 2022.
The introduction of the IGC plots serves to celebrate the rich tradition between the university and nation, allowing history to be on display for generations to come.
"It is amazing to see all of this coming together," said Evans. "I have been pushing for plots for two years now and to actually see them coming to campus is amazing (and) I believe that this is a great first step of the university showing that its Black students and student life is valued."
The Unity Walkway will also serve as an outdoor area for students and a unique site for special events.
Joshua Bellamy is a senior Educational Studies major with minors in Pan-African Studies and Sports Administration. He also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and is the IGC President.
“It has been a long time coming (for the plots), but it is a blessing to see this come into fruition,” he said. “To me, this is a step in the right direction to Kent State University supporting our Black and Latino Greeks [and] it is also a statement that the FSL community is worthy of being recognized, despite public perception of our Greek life.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar Hylton said the IGC plots would go a long way in showing how diverse Kent State is.
“I am excited, and I think this is a great way to celebrate and honor a community of students that have contributed to our success as a Fraternity and Sorority community,” he said. “This also further enhances our commitment to diversity and inclusion at Kent State.”
Hylton was also impressed with the leadership of the students in charge of this project.
“Our student leaders have immense leadership skills and capacity, and this project demonstrates that in action,” he said. “I think that it also shows how our students lead around various causes and how student organizations really push the university to be its best self. That is reflected in the work that these student leaders have done to bring this project to fruition.”
Bellamy says the best thing about the plots is that they are sure to leave a lasting impression on students both in the present, future, and past.
“I am so excited for our IGC alum to have something to come back to,” he said. “We finally have a place that we can call ours, and I am so excited for our future students to see that there are Black Greek Lettered Organizations on our campus.”
Evans agrees with that sentiment and is happy to have contributed in a positive way on campus for years to come.
"I am looking forward to IGC organizations getting their shine on campus," she said. "Many of our organizations have been here for years and have been at the forefront of advocating for the Black community here at Kent State. Our organizations hold legendary members, and it is an honor to have been the person to make this happen!"
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place during Homecoming Weekend in October.
For more information on Integrated Greek Council, please visit https://www.kent.edu/csi/integrated-greek-council-0
WRITTEN BY: MATT LUPICA