Bead event allowed students to express identity, connect with others

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Through reds and blues and many other hues, students expressed their identity and created key chains in the Student Union Building on March 21.

Differences in race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and income class can be used as highly divisive characteristics. However, the Student Activities Board prompted students to consider these differences as ways to connect with one another and express themselves with their “Bead Who You Are” event.

“The whole purpose is to get people thinking about what makes up their identity,” Kelsey Jackson, the advisor for the Student Activities Board, said. “We all have pieces of our identity that make us who we are.”

Students of various backgrounds gathered in the SUB courtyard and went through a line, choosing the color of bead that represented each aspect of their identity. SAB provided the beads, thread and conversation starters for all involved.

“It’s just a way for students to show what characteristics identify them on a bracelet or something they can hang on their backpack as a symbol,” Johnny Morales, a senior public relations major from La Porte and president of the Student Activities Board, said.

SAB chose to work with beads because the different colors were easy to find and could represent as many different aspects of a student’s identity as possible, Jackson said. It was important to find a way for students to feel safe to express themselves, free of judgement.

“Everyone should feel comfortable to express who they are,” Morales said. “I completely believe that everyone should be who they are, and that’s completely fine.”

This event where students proudly could “bead” who they were, fell on diversity week. Tech aims to be an inclusive school, and during this week especially, Tech strives to create as comfortable of an environment as possible for all its students.

“We all have our differences, but when we come together, it can make something beautiful,” Dylan Blair, a junior social work major from Mount Vernon, said.

Accepting and comparing differences leads to a connection between individuals and their backgrounds,” Vanessa Whitley, a sophomore human development and family studies major from Brownsville, said.

“It’s important to embrace your culture so you can connect with individuals from your same culture and from different ones,” Whitley said.

In addition to expressing their identities, students received a new accessory that depicted who they were at the end.

“It’s a personal way to describe yourself without having to explain yourself,” Loraine Morales, a sophomore philosophy major from Plainview, said.

SAB’s “Bead Who You Are” was created to start conversations among students about what made up their identities. This allowed students to tell their personal story with thread and beads.

“Even when you think you’re not diverse or not unique, there’s still something about you that makes up your identity that does make you unique and different than someone else,” Jackson said.

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