Unity in Diversity event encourages discussion of world events

Devon Recktenwald

Students celebrated diversity with music, food and discussion at the Unity in Diversity event, hosted by a coalition of student organizations Tuesday in Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) spearheaded the event with involvement from the Student Power Coalition (SPC), United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Safe Spaces, Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA), Student Diversity Action Council (SDAC), Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and the Department of Political Science.

Amanda Michalak, a senior political science major and the public relations head of SJP, led the event. The event urged students to come and talk about diversity in a casual setting. 

“There’s a lot of divisive political culture, so we’re holding this to try to connect people who might otherwise not be connected,” Michalak said.

Students gathered to eat pizza while they discussed diversity. 

Michalak said the event created an atmosphere for students to get to know each other, converse and even network.

“Instead of allowing identity politics to define us, we are just bringing everyone together in one room,” Michalak said.

Michalak said the event allowed students to take a break from the intense political environment and talk about whatever news they wanted.

Lama Abu-Amara, a senior chemistry major, is a board member of MSA, SJP and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. Abu-Amara, who had a hand in putting the event together, said that the event marks the first student-run event that brought student organizations together in an open environment to talk about diversity.

“People have to understand different types of cultures because they are going to interact with them later in their careers, so why not start in college?” Abu-Amara said. “We want to hear from other people. We don’t want to stick to our own opinions.”

The event encouraged students from all backgrounds to discuss issues happening on and off campus.

Elizabeth Hare, a senior zoology major, attended Unity in Diversity to connect and share ideas with other students.

“If you look around the room, you see diverse people,” Hare said. “I think the biggest thing is to celebrate our diversity and be able to learn from others and not exile people for being different. As I’ve been saying for the past couple months, united together we are stronger.”

Michalak said organization leaders hope to continue events like this in the future.

“I think out of this could come a whole different panel discussion on intersectional issues or even collaborating to bring speakers on campus,” Michalak said.

Devon Recktenwald is the recruiting and retention reporter. Contact her at [email protected].