UCF will host a Rally for Respect on Wednesday, Oct. 7, to preview next week’s campus Diversity Week.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to the Reflecting Pond at 2:45 p.m. to listen to President John C. Hitt, students Jessica Momrie and Swaran Nandini, and UCF College of Education and Human Performance lecturer Carolyn Walker Hopp speak about creating an inclusive culture for the entire UCF community. The rally is an opportunity to speak about social justice and a celebration of the diversity on campus.

“Even if we disagree or lack understanding of our differences, we should always treat each other with respect,” said Karen Morrison, chief diversity officer in UCF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The office leads Diversity Week events each year as well as a host of other programs aimed at creating a positive community. “With that as a foundation we can create a more inclusive culture that appreciates diversity and recognizes that we all share common humanity and aspirations for success and fair treatment.”

That message launched the RESPECT UCF awareness campaign this fall, which leads to Diversity Week (Oct. 12-16). The rally Wednesday is designed to bring the campus together, encourage Diversity Week participation, and keep diversity and inclusiveness in mind all year long.

Sonia Manzano, who portrayed Maria on the children’s show “Sesame Street” for 44 years, will officially launch UCF’s Diversity Week events with a breakfast talk Monday, Oct. 12. Attendance at the event is already at capacity. Among the topics she covers during her presentations — Latinos and the Civil Rights Movement; from the South Bronx to Sesame Street (A Puerto Rican Story); writing for children; and children and television.

For more events and information about the week or the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, click here