On Lenin Ayala-Bey’s first day at OCC in the spring 2018 semester, he walked around the Great Room in the Gordon Student Center and noticed something was missing. Ayala-Bey’s descendants are from Morocco and the Great Room is filled with dozens of flags representing the diverse background of OCC’s student population. When Ayala-Bey didn’t find a Moroccan flag in the Great Room he started asking questions. Monday, March 23rd all of his questions were answered when the Moroccan flag became the 79th in the Great Room. It was added during a brief College Hour ceremony. “This was important to me because it represents a lot of what I believe in,” said Ayala-Bey. “It represents my core foundation and my core belief. The five points of the flag are love, truth, peace, freedom and justice. That’s something I carry with me every day.”
The collection of national flags in the Great Room is the product of honor society Phi Theta Kappa’s (PTK) 2015 College Project. OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill asked PTK leadership to think about a way to illustrate where students came to the College from. Student Alena Cerro, who was a PTK officer at the time, began the information gathering process. Once the data was gathered the appropriate flags were collected. They were hung in the Great Room during spring break 2017.
The countries represented in the Great Room include: United States of America, Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bermuda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Iroquois, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Lucia, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.