Eastern celebrates it’s many cultures


Emily Powers

Deseray Vasquez, an EWU MEChA officer, prepares ingredients during a live cooking demonstration Tuesday in the Multicultural Center.

By Luke Pickett, Reporter

Last week, EWU hosted its 11th annual Diversity and Inclusion Week. Held April 18-22, the events were aimed to foster inclusiveness and a culture of respect for students.

The week kicked off with a keynote address from first-generation Cuban-American military general and EWU alumnus, Charlie Duranona. The Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion put together 15 other events throughout the week catered to supporting students of all identities and promoting unity.

On Thursday they held the Diversity Festival in the University Recreational Center. Typically the most attended event on campus, this was the first year in which outside vendors were invited to promote and sell a variety of items.

The event offered complimentary food, free Diversity and Inclusion T-Shirts, Multicultural Pop-Up Shops, live music and more. The vendors were all local to the Cheney and Spokane area.

Oriana Lui, the President of EWU NHPI, prepares her part of the recipe for the demonstration. (Emily Powers)

The Festival, which was originally supposed to be held at the University’s campus mall, was luckily able to move into the University Recreational Center due to unexpected rain.

Senior Director for Diversity and Inclusion programs Kim Davis oversaw the week’s events.

“I could not be happier with this year’s Festival,” said Davis. “It was a great success due to the excellent planning of Rosie and Sarahi.”

Rosie Rodriguez and Sarahi Gutierrez planned this year’s annual Festival. They had the brilliant idea to add multicultural pop-up shops to this year’s event, which provided an opportunity to buy multicultural products and support multicultural vendors.

“We had so much positive feedback on how organized the event was due to Rosie and Sarahi’s efforts,” Davis said. “I greatly appreciate them and the many EWU departments who contributed to executing this complex event, including Trucking, Dining Services, Event Planning, and Eagle Sound.”

From 10 a.m to 3 p.m local businesses and vendors set up tables to engage with students. Vendors came from the Spokane International Airport, Spokane Human Rights Commission, Chas Health, Center of Reproductive Health and other nearby organizations and enterprises.

Oriana Lui and Precious Alo collaborate during a live cooking demonstration, a part of EWU’s Diversity and Inclusion week, in the Multicultural Center on Tuesday.
(Emily Powers)

Many people were attracted to the vendors who represented local shops. ‘Mujeres in Action’ is a domestic violence and abuse advocate and awareness group in Spokane. In an interview with vendor Jesus Torres, he explained their commitment to advocating for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assualt.

“We provide our hotline which offers bilingual communication,” Torres said.

Another local vendor, “Little Mellon Patch Co’ inspired and created by mother of two, Michaela Mellon came to the Festival to advertise her handmade and decorative girl’s accessories such as headwraps, snap clips, clay and fabric bows and more.

“This is only my fourth time advertising as a vendor,” Mellon said, “I’m a stay-at-home mom and love making accessories for my girls and decided that I should share them with everyone.”

For many of the pop-ups at the Festival, it was their first time at EWU and the environment was exciting. EWU also had various pop-ups for various groups and services such as Counseling Services, Women’s Studies, Entrepreneur Center, Entertainment and more.

EWU was well represented with music playing from the music program and food and shirts being given out by student volunteers.

“Diversity & Inclusion Week was truly a campus-wide collaboration,” said Davis.