Respect the Pack
Respect the Pack event used Talley Student Union to host their event during Wolfpack Welcome Week on Aug, 20. It gave students a safe place to learn about diversity and inclusion on campus. Students gathered together to share their differences and learn about all the diverse communities that make up NC State’s student body. They were also educated on what they can do to further equality and inclusion. The idea was to Respect the Pack and unify individuals regardless of different backgrounds.
Brian Garsh, Student Involvement Coordinator, explained why Talley Student Union was chosen to host the event. “The central location on campus and the student center’s staff made it so easy to plan this large-scale event,” Garsh said. “Their team was responsive and accommodating to our needs as we planned and executed the event.” According to Garsh, the location benefits the event’s mission of openness and inclusion. “Hosting this event in the lobby of Talley Student creates an open atmosphere, which supports one of the core messages of Respect the Pack: open dialogue,” he stated. “The event was intentionally hosted in the lobby to draw community members into the event.” Garsh also mentioned that the event used to be hosted outside. Respect the Pack has been hosted on campus for 8 years. The event is no longer affected by inclement weather since being moved into Talley Student Union.
Zakiya Covington, a graduate student studying English and event planner, said Respect the Pack is important to her because it challenges the students to connect with others in the Wolfpack Community.
“I wanted Respect the Pack to be an event where members of the Wolfpack community can come together to recognize our differences, see the world differently, and celebrate our differences and experiences,” she said. Covington said the event used to be performance heavy. This year, she was intentional in wanting the students to interact with space. She asked each organization to provide some kind of interactive activity for the students to engage with. She mentioned that this event was not only for students but also for staff and faculty. It was an overall success in providing a learning space for individuals to openly have conversations that might be difficult. The event provided a safe place to unashamedly learn about topics they might not be familiar with.
“Oftentimes, I think some folks hold others to this unrealistic expectation of knowing when having diversity or social justice-centered conversations,” Covington said. “I think the event did a very great job of meeting students where they were. I’ve seen folks not participate or attend certain events out of fear of saying the wrong thing or not being as knowledgeable. I didn’t want this space to be that way.”