Diversity Week of 2014 took place this past week, from April 22 to April 26. Sponsored by the Diversity Leadership Council (DLC), Diversity Week involved a wide range of events. From educational events, such as Diversity in the Dark, to celebration events like Caribbean Night, Diversity Week’s main goal is showcasing the efforts the organizations of the DLC have contributed this year.
Every day of this week features at least one event. On Tuesday, April 22—Earth Week—the Gustavus Greens led a service event to pick up trash on campus and in the Saint Peter area. Later that same night was Caribbean Night to celebrate Caribbean culture.
On Wednesday, Diversity in the Dark offered the whole campus an opportunity to ask questions about diversity that people may be afraid to usually talk about.
On Thursday, the guest speaker Arn Chorn-Pond provided insights on how music and social justice come across.
Tonight, there will be an International dancing night for people to learn different types of dances from all over the world.
Diversity Week will conclude with the Diversity Ball, also known as Diversity Awards Banquet, on Saturday, April 26 starting at 6:30 p.m.
A signature event occurring every spring, Diversity Week carries the same message every year: promoting diversity at Gustavus. The Diversity Ball is a long-standing tradition as an integral part of Diversity Week. Co-Chair of DLC Becca Eastwood pointed out a main difference of the Diversity Ball from the President’s Ball.
“In the Diversity Awards Banquet, we give out awards for outstanding students, outstanding faculty, outstanding staff member, and outstanding event,” Eastwood said.
Neither is Diversity in the Dark a brand new event. The idea was proposed by Co-Chair of DLC Comfort Dolo last year. The event was such a success, they decided to host the event again this year. According to Dolo, a wide range of questions were raised last year, from “What in the world is white privilege” to “What does LGBTQ stand for?”
However, Eastwood believed that Diversity Week is not the same every year. Bringing in the guest speaker Arn Chorn-Pond is one of their attempts to creatively engage the Campus in the issues about diversity. Eastwood talked about Chron-Pond’s background.
“He plays the flute. He was in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge genocide. He is talking about how playing the flute helped him get out of the children’s work camps,” Eastwood said.
From Dolo’s point of view, Diversity Week 2014 distinguishes itself from last year because it corresponds with other events that have happened this year.
“Instead of having a bunch of big events jam-packed every day throughout the week, this year we have more focused events. And they’re kind of targeting things that we’ve done in the past. This year, the Building Bridges Conference focused on environmental justice. That’s kind of why the Gustavus Greens came up with the idea of doing a trash pick-up on campus. So it’s kind of referring back to things that we talked about in the past and bringing it back again for people: Hey, don’t forget about this important issue,” Dolo said.
Dolo encouraged people to participate and she was sure that it would be worthwhile.
“You can come to events that are more focused on educating and actually having a good time. It’s a fun way to celebrate diversity,” Dolo said.