I AM and ice-breakers

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

Making friends in a completely new atmosphere can be difficult. Mercyhurst’s Multicultural Activities Council (MAC) is working to bring students together through their events. I AM … Breaking Boundaries is one of many events designed to help unite the campus community.

“The event is focused on the actual breaking of boundaries,” Kay Mattena, MAC Event Planner, said. The organizers planned icebreakers and activities for people to get to know each other to start the event.

The event also included an idea that is actually based on a similar event conducted in Belgium.

Mattena said the organizers planned “boxes laid taped out and words projected on the screen. If you identify with that word, you stand up.”

The activity helps to point out similarities individuals have with one another, despite some of their differences.

“No matter what background you come from, we all have similarities and we can all get along. We all have stereotypes associated with us, but there’s so much more,” Mattena said.

The event also included team-building activities such as Loop-de-loop, where participants link hands and pass a hula hoop, and the human knot.

“We are focused on helping people step out of their boundaries, their comfort zones. No matter your color, ethnic background, monetary background, age group, we all have similarities. The I AM cmpaign works to help students identify with all aspects of themselves so that they can reach outside of themselves and find similarities with people they wouldn’t have thought they would connect with,” Mattena said.

The second half of the event was planned in conjunction with the Video and Tabletop Game clubs to allow people to get to know some of the people they just connected with. Refreshments catered by Coffee Culture helped complete the event and encouraged mingling among individuals. The event is meant to help foster new friendships.

April will bring more I AM campaign events specifically targeting stereotypes.

“We’ll have actors and they’ll portray the reversals of (stereotypes),” Mattena said.

MAC, created in spring 2015, is a relatively new council on campus. MAC, and specifically the I AM campaign, works hard to promote unity throughout the student body and the campus as well. The events are enjoyable, educational and help foster respect among the Mercyhurst community.