group photo of unity project participants
Maui Language Institute students experience the Unity Project.

Strands upon strands of pink yarn, connected by six foot high poles, forms a web-like circular structure that greets students and visitors alike when they visit the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College campus.

The unique creation is a representation of network and connection and part of a global movement called the Unity Project. It was constructed at the start of the fall 2019 semester by students from Hawaiʻi and abroad. The symbolic activity was part of student peer-led campus tours and gave students an opportunity to think about who they are as individuals, as well as see the visual representation of who they are as first-year students and community members.

“Our hope was to communicate how our diversity builds a strong and vibrant community at UH Maui College,” said UH Maui College First Year Experience Coordinator Eri Nomura.

“I loved the experience we had,” said Aline Munaldi. “Made us realize that despite all the differences we have, we are all connected in some way.”

The Unity Project is a national, outdoor, interactive art display that creates connections among diversity. Students, faculty and staff tie pink yarn to posts that reflect their individual identities, and as a result, a canopy of interconnectedness forms as more people participate. Examples of the individual identifiers are “I’m a survivor,” “My family’s continent of origin is Asia,” “I’m a parent,” and “I am a dog lover.”

“We need to understand and learn that the world is a colorful, vibrant place. Humanity has different values, but one common value shouldn’t be questionable: we have to respect that we are all different,” said UH Maui student Zsigmond Varga. “The unity circle teaches this principle.”

Fellow student Kaede Tada agrees.

“I really liked the unity of circle. I felt that we are connected somehow, and I’m not alone,” said Tada. “I am from Japan and sometimes I feel alone, however, that activity made me [feel differently].”

group photo of unity project participants
Unity Project with a tour group.