Educating about diversity on campus

Priscilla Bonilla, Correspondent

Day after day Wilkes University faculty and students strive to break down social barriers and enrich the community with cultural differences.
The Wilkes University Office of Diversity Initiatives: Center for Global Education and Diversity arranges an entire week of events to allow the student population to experience different cultures. The events began Feb. 18 and end Saturday, Feb. 23. Each event will take place in the Henry Student Center Ballroom at various times.
“Diversity should be acknowledged 365 days a year, not during one week,” Dr. Evene Estwick, associate professor of communications studies, said.
Erica Acosta, associate director of Diversity Initiative, had asked Estwick to lead a discussion on the challenging stereotypes in media. The discussion will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Estwick said she believes that by starting the discussion with the viewing of the Oscar-winning movie “Crash,” it will be a great way to begin discussing the difficult topics pertained to race, ethnicity, age and gender.
“The movie raises a lot of questions,” Estwick said. “But no answers.”
This will allow for the discussion to answer these questions and touch on difficult points avoided by society.
“Diversity should be topic discussed in and out of the classroom,” Acosta said. “Not just for a week.”
Acosta organized a week of six events, she wanted to focus on various areas of diversity therefore she did not pick a specific theme. The topics for the event were randomly selected.
“Sounds of Africa,” a Feb. 18 discussion led by Dr. Phil Simon, director of Instrumental Studies, touched on the influences of African beats on modern culture.
Life Outside the Closet will be a student panel discussion, a first for Acosta. This event will allow for a better understanding of students experiences and feelings of the LGBT community. It will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Student Center Ballroom.
“What’s in a Name?” is a discussion about learning how to pronounce a person’s name and the meaning or value the name may have. It will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. Lunch will be provided as well.
The final event, One World Party, will be from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. The Multicultural Student Coalition is sponsoring the event, and Acosta is the adviser. Acosta said she believes that there is no better way then to get along and truly break barriers than by a dancing together.