Student organizations on UT's campus are looking to spread both merriment and diversity this holiday season.
The Black Cultural Programing Committee is hosting a Kwanzaa Celebration today at 7 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.
Chris Dillard, senior in political science, is a team event leader for the organization and took part in planning the event.
"As Kwanzaa is a traditional BCPC event, there isn't much out of the ordinary that I have to plan as team leader," Dillard said. "The template is there already. It's up to me and Rachael to execute and innovate ways to promote the event to campus."
Rachael Taylor, senior in food science, is also an event leader. She and Dillard helped coordinate the logistics of the event in order to bring the diverse event to campus.
While embracing the holiday spirit, students and guests also have a chance to learn more about the history of Kwanzaa.
"I do think this Kwanzaa event brings diversity to campus," Taylor said. "During our event the seven principles are explained, as well as the meaning of other symbols that represent Kwanzaa.
"This event allows students to explore and become more knowledgeable about this wonderful African-American celebration."
Along with learning about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, students can also expect a live performance by an African dance group, a candle-lighting, a musical performance and free food provided by Chandler's Deli.
For Dillard, the event is a step in the right direction in regards to diversifying campus, but more can be done.
"More of these type of events need to occur among all races and nationalities," Dillard said. "I feel like if more organizations would add incentives for students to come to these events, they would have more of an impact long-term. Because college is not just an experience you have in the classroom, the real growing experience happens as you become more involved in campus life."
Kelli Orr, junior in kinesiology with a concentration in physical therapy, is a member of BCPC. Orr said she is also excited about the event and the message it sends to campus.
"This event is very helpful in promoting diversity," Orr said. "At our age, we must be open minded to other cultures and traditions. We are quick to tell of what we know. We must also be quick to listen and observe new things.
"What better way to teach than through an event that highlights another holiday. We hope that at least someone leaves with a new perspective on what Kwanzaa really is."