Pictured above: Hundreds of handprints line the west wall of the Campus Life office as a part of the Unity through Diversity tradition. (Kylie Stamper/Staff Photographer)
By Tanner Carlson
StuFu members and faculty have expressed how important Unity Through Diversity Week is to themselves, and this campus.
In times in our country where it seems being diverse is frowned upon, having an open mind is wrong, and people are being punished for what ethnicity they are and are frightened of being deported. It is more important now more than ever to celebrate Unity Through Diversity Week, because of the issues we’ve been faced with as a nation.
“Everything we do, we try to tie in the importance of the Builder family,” Victoria Lybarger, elementary education sophomore and StuFu president. “A part of it is embracing each other’s differences and diversity, and I think that is the beauty of Diversity Week on campus.”
Southwestern College has students from not only all over the United States, but the entire world. There are students ranging from Africa, China, and Saudi Arabia. They know they are loved and appreciated at Southwestern.
Anjaih Clemons, director of Student Life, expresses what diversity means to her. She said, “It’s about embracing the fact that I love you, and I care about you regardless of where you come from,” Clemons says. “It doesn’t matter if you have money, or not. If you’re black, or Asian whether you’re gay, lesbian, or straight whether you’re an atheist, a Muslim, or a Christian, regardless I love you, and I embrace you.”
There are students on campus that have struggled in the past with people not understanding their background. Caleb Janssen, psychology senior, is also a StuFu member and appreciates the campus acknowledging the importance of Unity Through Diversity Week.
“What I have struggled with is people accepting that I’m gay,” Janssen says. “I guess it’s kind of hard for people to realize that everyone is different, and I understand that, so that gives me an open mind to like diversity, and experience that with everyone.”
Clemons, Lybarger, Janssen, and the rest of the StuFu team has organized an entire week of activities that signifies being diverse. Starting Monday, February 20, 2017 students were invited to paint their hand and put their handprint on the Unity Through Diversity Wall in the StuFu office where students have “joined hands” for about a decade. Tuesday night, StuFu has planned a poetry night for students and faculty so that can express themselves, Wednesday is Jeopardy and Movie night where students will be asked what diversity means to them, and Thursday is Dinner with a Twist where students will see a more open minded way of looking at diversity.
“I’m really excited that this is a thing that we choose to do every year,” Lybarger continues. “It’s something that is as simple as putting a hand print on a wall that is powerful to me. That just expresses how we are all part of the Builder family, so that’s really cool.”
Tanner Carlson is a junior majoring in communication. You can contact him at email@example.com.