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Diversity Week celebrated

By Chelsea Scott
On April 19, 2012

Diversity Week is a time when students are encouraged to embrace differences and discuss topics such as race, religion, gender and social class.

Paulette Bongratz, chair of the student sub-committee on the President’s Council on Diversity, said the idea of Diversity Week has been around for several years in Student Government and was developed by her and her committee co-chairs Matt Ellis, Ken Harbin and Melanie Munoz.

“We began planning in the summer and worked on collaborations to make the event as inclusive as possible,” Bongratz said.

On Wednesday, the Latino Student Union was responsible for Carnival in the Mall held in the Centennial Mall between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Munoz, who was also involved with LSU, said the main speaker this year was Brian C. Johnson from Campus Speak. “His program is based on the understanding of diversity, multiculturalism and social justice as a hallmark of the current higher education experience.”

She said the speakers are always important when it comes to planning Diversity Week and representing different diverse groups.

Miranda Vollmer, president of Student Bar Association, shared this opinion. She said it was important for speakers to share their experiences in working with other minority clients in order to provide real-life insight.

The SBA hosted an event on Tuesday around noon. This event was hosted by Eugenio Mollo and Mark Heller from the Migrant Farm Worker Program of Legal Aid Toledo.

“The attorneys spoke about current cases they are working on with minority clients who have been discriminated against based on the color of their skin,” Vollmer said. “They also discussed immigration processes and the challenges for foreign nationals trying to gain US citizenship.”

Vollmer said to her, diversity means bringing together different ideas and individuals to create a rich and a various community.

Bongratz says diversity comes in many different forms. She also said she feels diversity is what makes each individual unique.

“My experiences here at UT have made it evident to me that diversity is a very important value to the University as a whole and I feel that many offices and organizations on campus have done an awesome job of promoting respect and unity on campus,” Bongratz said.

She believes diversity and respect are very important to the students and she hopes Diversity Week activities are educational to them.

The groups and sponsors who collaborated with SG include LSU, Black Student Union, Spectrum, SBA, the Office of Accessibility, Muslim Student Association, International Student Association, the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program, Campus Activities and Programming, President’s Lecture Series on Diversity, the Office of Multicultural Student Services, the Office of External Affairs, Health Science Campus and the President’s office.


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