Last Tuesday, West Chester University’s Student Government Association sponsored Diversity Day as part of our first annual Spirit Week. The day was designed to raise awareness of campus diversity and to bring acknowledgement to a number of diverse student groups on campus.One of the main events to bring diversity to campus was an ethnic food sale held in Sykes Student Union. The sale ran from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. There, students could purchase a wide variety of items that represented a specific culture.
Many cultures and traditions were represented at the ethnic food sale. Each organization that had items for sale was raising money for their organization or for a charity. Many of them were also trying to promote their club or organization to other West Chester students.
A few of the cultures that were represented at the Diversity Day ethnic food sale included German, Muslim, Mexican and Italian. With such a wide range in cultures represented students were sure to get a mixture of food, drinks and desserts.
Shayma Hussain, a junior and a member of the Muslim Student Association was at the sale with a variety of Arabic dishes. Arabic salad, Hummos-chic peas, lemon, salt and garlic, Sharoma- pita bread, with a special cucumber salad and spinach pie were a few of the items that they had for sale.
“We would like to get our organization out to the students. Many people do not even realize that we have an organization on campus,” said Hussain. The proceeds that the Muslim Student Association raised were going to a new Arabic school.
Janice Reese, a first year student, attended the event. “I think this a great idea. I came over to Sykes just to sample some food. I was excited to see an event like this,” said Reese.
Another group that was promoting their organization to students and demonstrating university service was TIARA. TIARA is the official interest group for a multi-cultural sorority, Mu Sigma Upsilon. TIARA stands for Togetherness, Independence, Academics, Respect and Achievement. This group is working towards becoming an official campus sorority. “We are trying to host activities so people will recognize us as a group on campus,” said Joanne Garcia, who is one of the thirteen official members of TIARA.
Other campus organizations that were at the ethnic food sale was the German Club and the an Italian Class. The German Club had pretzels and cake, and Flora Calabrese’s Italian 101 class had several cookies, drinks and cakes that were originally from Italy. WCU Public Safety also made donations to SGA to buy food for the sale.
“I really like the ethnic food here. It’s all really good,” said Roxanne Petrochko, a first year student that sampled a variety of the food for sale.
Other events and activities that were planned in light of Diversity Day was a diversity workshop. The workshop was titled “Identity Circles,” dealing with individuals’ identities and diversity in groups.
The day concluded with a diversity game show, presented by an actual game show company. All of the diversity day activities brought about awareness of diversity issues.
One of SGA’s goals of Diversity Day was to make students more tolerant and aware of the diversity around us by embracing the diversity that exists just on this campus. This diversity includes not just ethnicity and race, but also gender and sexual orientation.
Amy Mashack, Diversity Day Chairperson thinks, “WCU needs to embrace those differences that exist. We are not “first-year students,” “Greeks,” “music majors,” “gays,” “blacks,” or “Catholics” – we are all West Chester University students and we should unite together and show spirit and pride. That’s why I think it is important to celebrate diversity.”
Spirit Week was packed with planned activities that were exciting for students and faculty. “WCU’s First Annual Spirit Week was an amazing endeavor that will hopefully continue for years to come, ” said Mashack. We will all be looking forward to the second annual Spirit Week next year.