EWU celebrates second annual Diversity Week

By Kate Daniel, Eagle Life Editor


EWU faculty, students and staff will come together to celebrate diversity with food, music, games and conversation at the second annual Diversity Week May 20 to 23.

Diversity Week is coordinated by EWU staff and students including the ASEWU and the president’s committee on diversity. This year’s events will include guest speaker Caprice Hollins, who will give a presentation on the diverse and changing population of America. The band Down North from Seattle will perform on May 23.

Other events will include diversity lessons, food, contests and displays.

The final event of the week will be the EWU World Cup soccer tournament.

Gayla Wright, chair of the president’s committee on diversity, said the idea of Diversity Week started when she and a few other faculty members decided that Eastern required an event that could bring together the various campus groups in a way that would promote diversity and unity. Gayla said last year’s ASEWU diversity outreach representative Regina Steele was a “key player” in cultivating the first Diversity Week.

The diversity lessons will cover topics such as age and ageism, intersections of diversity, religion and faith, American world perspective, socioeconomic differences and disabilities. The subject of the diversity contests this year will be culture, gender or gender expression. Each contestant will be allotted five minutes to present.

The committee is still accepting applications for diversity lessons, contests and displays, Wright said. Students can register for these or for the soccer tournament through the web site, http://bit.ly/10ooTmO. For events such as the diversity contests and soccer tournament, prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Wright said she would describe the event as a representation of the transformation that could take place on campus with everyone’s participation. She said EWU is fortunate to have such a diverse population.

“To bring together a week like this at Eastern just to get everyone out together and talking and enjoying each other’s company and great food, hopefully this is something that will continue every year,” she said. “This is our second annual [Diversity Week], so we’re hoping this one will be even bigger than the last one.”

Wright said she encourages everyone to attend the events including the lecture by Hollins whom she described as an engaging and powerful speaker.

This year, most events will take place in the PUB multipurpose room in order to enhance convenience for students passing through, Wright said. Two diversity lessons will also take place at the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane.

“It’s all free, so you can’t beat the opportunity to come out and experience good conversation and have great food and just enjoy each other,” Wright said.

“I really hope this year that a lot of the fraternities and sororities and other clubs and [organizations] come out,” Wright said. “I think we all have the same common goal, and that’s to promote diversity and inclusivity and inclusion, so I think it would be awesome if we could have more of those folks participate this year.”

She said the committee will be in the PUB May 15 to 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., handing out flyers with a complete list of events.

Michael Campitelli, director of campus recreation programs and one of the organizers of the EWU World Cup soccer tournament said the game, and Diversity Week as a whole, offers students a great opportunity to enjoy one another’s company through fun and education.

Campitelli said diversity is something that must be practiced, not just talked about. He said the EWU soccer tournament will provide the perfect opportunity for students to do so.

“This is just one activity in Diversity Week, and we should all take the time to see how things work in other cultures and groups,” he said. “The world would truly be a better place if we understood each other better.”

“I’m from southern California and grew up in a really diverse community. Though EWU still has a ways to go, I’ve been here over 20 years and it gets better each year. There’s always more we can do,” said Campitelli. “Festivals that bring things like food, music, arts, sports, philosophies, history and religions into the mainstream all help and should be supported. … These are our kids and they’re from all over the world. We should embrace that.”