Student News

Inaugural UK Global Games Day highlights UK’s commitment to belonging


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2024) — Last month, the University of Kentucky's Martin Luther King Center, along with other campus organizations, hosted the inaugural Global Games Day, bringing together hundreds of students across campus. Global Games Day aims to celebrate cultural expression through sports, food, performances and activities. The purpose of the program is to connect students from different social identities and backgrounds and create a unique opportunity for them to recognize the origins of various sports and the countries where they are celebrated. 

“By bringing awareness to diversity in this way, we hoped to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of different cultures,” said Ja’Mahl McDaniel, director of the MLK Center. “We had over 15 student organizations and departments apart of the event including performances and had over 150 participants at the event.”

Graduate student in the College of Social Work, Pratiksha Phukan, was one of those students in attendance. 

“I attended the Global Games event primarily because it offered a unique opportunity to immerse myself in diverse cultures and connect with people from all over the world. As an international student, I believe it's essential to embrace different perspectives and experiences, and events like this provide the perfect platform for that,” Phukan said. “Being away from home, I often crave the sense of community and belonging that I left behind. The Global Games event promised just that — a chance to feel part of a global community where everyone comes together despite differences in nationality, language or background. Moreover, participating in the Global Games allowed me to showcase my own culture and traditions while learning about others'. It's not just about competition; it's about cultural exchange and understanding. Through sports, music, food and other activities, I could share a piece of my identity with others and learn about theirs in return.”

Year-round, the Martin Luther King Center seeks to empower UK students to improve their college experience by promoting access to academic, civic leadership and cultural exchange opportunities rooted in King's philosophy. For more than 35 years, the MLK Center has served the community as a place to gather and seek support and has worked diligently to develop programs and events that educate, empower and connect our campus community. 

Through collaborative events on campus like Global Games, McDaniel believes the campus will continue to enhance belonging and student success across the board. Phukan agrees with this sentiment and hopes the event continues to emphasize the importance of sustainability and social responsibility, incorporating eco-friendly practices and promoting positive social impact initiatives. 

To stay up to date with events and information on the MLK Center over the summer, visit their website or follow them on social media.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.