Representing countries in the MU

Riley Youngman, News Contributer

The Memorial Union Flag Project is set to display flags from each country represented by current students in a ceremony at Oregon State University today at 4 p.m.

Due to expressed concern regarding the display itself from students and the MU staff, the MU Advisory Board created the MU Flag Program subcommittee to find a solution.

The Memorial Union concourse began displaying the  flags of the Allied Nations during World War II, but then grew into displaying all flags of all nations that were donated by international students at the university.  

“We started to brainstorm some ideas of how we could change the flag display to be more inclusive of the OSU community, and more involved and be a more dynamic display,” said Claire McMorris, a junior in political science and a member at large of the MU Advisory Board.

After considering many different possible solutions, the subcommittee decided that the new flag program would include a display in the MU concourse with flags from each UN recognized nation a current OSU student is from.

“We came up with the idea that the flags would represent the current international students that are at OSU every single year, creating not only something that can be representative of our university, but an event that can occur every year where we honor and recognize international students and their contributions to OSU,” McMorris said.

The flag display will be put up after a ceremony in the MU Ballroom that features speeches from prominent OSU administrators as well as those involved with creating the program.  Following a parade around the MU, 105 flags will then be displayed in the concourse until next year’s ceremony.

“We’ve never had something that represents the global diversity at the university in such a dynamic way,” McMorris said.

Memorial Union President  Rafid Chowdhury also served on the subcommittee.  Being an international student himself, Chowdhury brought an outside perspective to the group and the decisions that were made.

“This is iconic for international students.  When they walk around the MU, they will see their flag at the same height as the US Flag,” said Chowdhury.

According to Chowdhury, the display creates a feeling of inclusivity that this program hopes to foster.

“We’ve got a special display case in the MU concourse behind one of the glass display cases that will acknowledge the historic flags, the flags that may not be in political existence anymore, but were at one time representative of students at OSU,” McMorris said.

Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, a doctoral candidate in industrial engineering, and a subcommittee member, came from a family with multiple international backgrounds and sees a great importance in this new program.

“This will be a very dynamic display of who is here right now and who we commemorate and remember forever,” Al-Abdrabbuh said.   

The subcommittee hopes that  International Education week will make the flag ceremony  an annual tradition at OSU to kick off the festivities.  

“We celebrate diversity.  We value diversity.  I hope this ceremony becomes a tradition every year,” Chodhury said.

The Memorial Union Flag Display ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov 16. in the Memorial Union Ballroom.  The ceremony will feature speeches from those involved with the policy change and senior OSU administrators, as well as a parade of flags before they are officially put on display.  The ceremony is open to the public and is free of charge.