Editor's note: The hate crimes panel is no longer a panel, it's now a facilitated discussion after the organizers changed it. 

The university is hosting its 36th annual Unity Week celebration from Jan. 17-23. 

The week will be full of events planned by student organizations and staff members from across the university that are free to students and the community. 

Since 1980, the week has been dedicated to unifying the community through enlightening social, cultural and educational events.

“Unity Week is an opportunity for all students and community members to have the chance to expose themselves to something new,” said Bobby Steele, assistant director of the Multicultural Center. “Participants will also have the chance to learn or witness something they might have not known before. They’ll learn about diversity, which is very important for a global society.”

This year's Unity Week "aims to challenge perspectives on matters of diversity, inclusivity and solidarity in an evolving social climate," according to the Ball State website.

Here are the events going on during the week: 

Muncie Symphony Orchestra’s MLK Jr. Memorial Family Concert

What to expect:

Sponsored by the Ball Brothers Foundation, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra presents a Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Concert with guests Terry Whitt Bailey, Destiny Roberts, JaJuan Phillips, the Southside Middle School Band, and Keith O’Neal and Expression of Praise, according to munciesymphony.org. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Jan. 17, 4 p.m. at Muncie Southside Middle School Auditorium

MLK Community Breakfast

What to expect:

The annual breakfast is an opportunity for the Muncie and Ball State community to come together and celebrate the legacy and contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. This year's theme is Diversity and Politics in the 21st Century.

Jan. 18, 9-10 a.m., L.A. Pittenger Student Center, Cardinal Hall

MLK Unity March

What to expect:

“This march will be remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all his visions, what he wanted to see us accomplish as citizens,” Steele said.

The MLK Unity March will take place after the breakfast, leaving from the Student Center and heading north on McKinley Avenue to Shafer Tower, and then returning to the Student Center.

Jan. 18, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m., starts at the Student Center

Hate Crimes Documentary and discussion

What to expect:

The Asian American Student Association and Spectrum are teaming up and presenting a documentary and facilitated discussion on hate crimes.

Jan. 19, 7-9 p.m., Student Center Forum Room

MLK Speaker Series Presents Benjamin Jealous

What to expect:

Benjamin Todd Jealous, former President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will be the featured keynote speaker. Jealous will be presenting on "The Forgotten Origins and Consequences of Race in America."

Jan. 20, 7:30- 9 p.m., Pruis Hall

Tunnel of Oppression

What to expect:

The Multicultural Center and Housing and Residence Life have created an interactive exhibit where participants can engage in contemporary issues of oppression.

“Tunnel of Oppression will give people the opportunity to actually witness some of the micro-aggressions and structural issues that are still happening today in our society that we might not even know exist,” Steele said. “It’s one thing to learn about something in a classroom sitting in a lecture or a presentation but when you actually get to witness and see the things happen up front, it’s an eye-opening experience.”

Jan. 21, 7-9 p.m., Student Center Ballroom

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Concert

What to expect:

The School of Music will be honoring and celebrating Dr. King through musical spirituals, poetry and dance. The concert program includes a drum circle, jazz combo, gospel choir, stepping, excerpts from speeches and theatre

Jan. 21, 7:30- 8:30 p.m., Sursa Performance Hall


What to expect:

The Latino Student Union will be sponsoring a non-competitive variety show showcasing dance, singing, spoken word and other artistic expressions by students.

“Latinopalooza will give students a chance to demonstrate a talent to the Ball State and Muncie Community,” said Carlos Mata, the LSU president. “Our guests get treated with some of the best talents there is and we hope for everyone to have a good time.”

Jan. 22, 6- 8 p.m., Student Center Ballroom

Unity Connections Conference

What to expect:

The conference features various Ball State faculty, staff and students with more than 15 program sessions related to diversity. The conference will also feature a keynote address from Renae Mayes, assistant professor of counseling and director of school counseling program.

“The goal is to get people outside of their comfort zone and help them understand things from different perspectives,” Steele said. “Hopefully they can use that knowledge to be better people, make different decisions or to even be able to just understand the struggles that other people may experience.”

Jan. 23, 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., Student Center

Unity Scholarship Pageant

What to expect:

Sponsored by the Black Student Association, the pageant strives to promote unity and will host more than 400 people competing to be crowned Mr. or Miss Unity. In preparation for the pageant, contestants have raised money that will go toward the scholarship for the winner, said Rayvon Williams, the Black Student Association secretary.

“The Unity Pageant gives students a platform to show their talents and display their intelligence," Williams said. "The pageant is very significant because both men and women are allowed to participate, and in addition we have several cultures that are going to be represented. This event also aids students to build confidence, self-discipline and network. The Pageant is concluding Unity Week, therefore we are hoping to bring a diverse crowd.”

Jan. 23, 6-8:30 p.m., Pruis Hall