A group of five students came together to plan a week dedicated to different cultures, genders and economic statuses.
The first annual Diversity Week started with a kickoff party, where there were performances from the Polynesian Dance and Chant Club, Ebb & Flow and more.
“Seeing the performances opened my eyes,” said Heather Hunt, a student who helped plan Diversity Week and President of Organics Guild. “I did not realize how many students had those talents from their cultures. They don’t really have a place to practice or showcase any of that.”
The following night was Women in the Valley night, a night to celebrate and recognize women in the valley. There was food, drinks and opportunities to network and meet new people.
On the night of April 10, Diversity Week hosted a Hunger Banquet. This banquet isn’t like any other banquet, it was an interactive way for people to learn about socioeconomic status. The dinner was put on by Resident Director Joel Kaskinen and food was provided by Sodexo.
Participants were separated into high class, middle class and low class. The high class made up 10% of the people there, 30% made up the middle class and 60% made up the lower class. When it was time for dinner, the high class got a full meal with chicken, veggies and rice. The table they were sat at also had real silverware, flowers and cloth napkins. Middle class received plastic utensils and paper plates. For their meal, they got veggies and rice. The lower class didn’t get all the utensils they needed and just had rice.
The next night was Around the World. In the University Center there was a large map for students, staff and faculty to pinpoint where they are from. Later, there was an Uncomfortable Conversation, a student panel and open to anyone to come and speak their mind about anything, sometimes making things a little uncomfortable.
The last night of the week was a drag workshop hosted by Spectrum. This was a night dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone who came could practice drag makeup and got to have a mini photoshoot. It was a fun way to learn more about drag and the LGBTQ+ community.
“The support from administration was awesome,” Hunt said. “Because we were trying to show that you didn’t have to be part of a group to get something done, it could just be a group of students. It worked, and everyone was super supportive.”
Diversity Week came to close Saturday morning after the Diversity Walk. This was a walk around town to show the importance of coming together as a community to recognize the importance of inclusion.
Story by Western junior Taya Olson.