By Amber Kennedy

A university campus can feel like its own town, and every college, club and department can feel like a neighborhood. After almost two years of profound change due to a global pandemic, Old Dominion University is ready to welcome Monarchs back to these neighborhoods with flair - this year, with a Unity Block Party.

The first Unity Block Party, planned to celebrate the many unique and diverse communities of ODU, has been postponed. A new date will be announced.

Unlike other informational events, the Unity Block Party is not intended to be a resource fair, but meant to provide a time for students, faculty and staff to connect. The party, coordinated by the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) in Student Engagement and Enrollment Services (SEES), will feature music, performances, creative activities and food.

Kaufman Mall will be transformed into 11 "neighborhoods" with each area reflecting student organizations, chaplain neighbors and academic and University departments. Students can stroll along "Reignwood Drive" to visit with Greek Life and student organizations, take a spin through "Big Blue's Playground" to engage with recreation and wellness at ODU and visit "Crown Heights" to connect with first-year and first-generation, Latinx, Black and Foster U students.

"It is a time of festivities and fellowship, which we all need," said Lesa Clark, OIR executive director. "The 'neighborhood' concept was designed so that we can visually see our Monarch neighbors and physically visit and form relationships with some of our neighborhoods."

Each neighborhood has captured the vision of what it means to be part of a diverse and inclusive community and is motivated to make this a memorable day for all Monarchs, Clark said, adding that the response from faculty and students has been "overwhelmingly positive."

"We wanted these few hours to be a time for celebrating who we are and experience the joy of engaging and learning about others," Clark said.

Neighborhood Guide

Explore the ODU community neighborhoods to meet with their "residents:"

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