SA Diversity Week kicks off today
Four events aim to raise awareness
March 27, 2006 —
The "Hall of Tolerance" and a showing of the movie Crash will highlight this week's Diversity Week, a series of four events designed to educate students about diversity.
The event is being sponsored by the Student Association and is structured to put students in difficult situations to show what different people go through and how it feels to be in those situations.
Diversity Week is set up to be fun, "but could open the eyes of a lot of students," says Beth Schafer, SA's Campus Events Chair. "A lot of campuses do diversity weeks as they call them, but they end up being black and white issues. I see diversity as a lot more than black and white."
The first event tonight will be "Stand and Declare," scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Multi-purpose Room. Students will sit in a circle and a list of questions will be asked and if the students associate themselves with those questions, they then stand up and look to see the other people that feel the same way they do.
Schafer says this will allow students to realize they are not the only low-income student or not the only one to come from a broken home and that they aren't the only ones that are in that situation.
The events will also be spread throughout campus to get as many people involved as possible. Students that wish to participate can go to the event location.
Tuesday is the "Hall of Tolerance," and will take place in the Student Center Rotunda. Students will have three stickers on their shirt which will show three things that bother them about themselves. The students will then walk down the hallway and other students will make fun of them for the things on their shirts.
"It will be rude, it will be in your face, but the purpose behind it is to bring to light the fact that words can hurt," Schafer says. "It will make you think, 'maybe I should watch the things I say, that just because I don't say these things right to someone's face, doesn't mean that they aren't hurtful.'"
Students that complete the Hall will receive a certificate with a vow that states they will not treat people how they had just been treated. Tony Thompson, director of the Student Counseling Center, will be present as well.
Crash, the Academy Award-winning movie about some of the same issues being brought up throughout Diversity Week, will be shown on Wednesday night.
"It's an amazing and a really powerful movie, and it drives right to the heart of what I am trying to get at with this week," Schafer says.
The "Game of Life," on Thursday in the Alumni Lounge, is an event where students will walk in and get a piece of paper on their back with something discriminatory written on it. Tables will be set up and the students will have a list of objectives. These will include such tasks as getting a loan or buying a car or a place to live, and the students will be discriminated against based on what is on their back.
The point, Schafer says, is for the students to figure out throughout the event why people are discriminating against them and what is written on their back.
"SA is really geared up for it, and we are really excited to see the students' reaction to how they treat others and how others treat them," Schafer says. "If we can make an ounce of difference in the way they think and the way everyday life happens on this campus, then I will feel like we have done our jobs."
Throughout the week, students can participate in Hats off for Humanity. Much like last year, students will be given the chance to turn in any hat and receive a diversity hat in return. At the end of the week, the collected hats will be unveiled in the Rotunda.
"The Diversity hats we have are all different and when worn, they metaphorically show all the different hats we wear everyday," Schafer says. "It shows that when they come together they can create something beautiful, so what we are doing is creating a work of art with them on Thursday."
For additional information, contact SA at (989) 964-4232.