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Dinner serves up diversity

Student activities to begin awareness push

Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 00:02

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William Guerra

Aimed to raise social awareness in the Aggie community, the Department of Student Activities is promoting Texas A&M’s Social Justice Week from Monday to Thursday.

The Department of Multicultural Services will present a lecture, discussion and dinner Monday titled, “Who Hates the ‘D’ Word?”

P.J. Jones, a diversity education specialist in the Department of Multicultural Services, will host the workshop and said it would serve as an interactive discussion surrounding resistance to diversity education.

“We want our audience to engage in meaningful discussion that will allow participants to self-reflect, understand different perspectives and hopefully help erase the stigma around diversity education and training,” P.J. Jones said.

P.J. Jones said she has some assumptions as to why students could be uncomfortable with understanding diversity, but that she is more interested in hearing the participants’ voices at the workshop in hopes they can shed light on this issue for the Department of Multicultural Services.

Alison Floyd, junior community health major, said students could be uncomfortable with discussions on diversity because of an aversion to difference.

“I believe that people tend to be afraid of change in general,” Floyd said. “That, for some, might translate to fear of increasing diversity [on campus].”

However, Floyd said she has seen a trend of cultural acceptance at A&M. She said being exposed to other cultures, traditions and lifestyles enhance a student’s education.

“I’ve seen many clubs and organizations that typically gain members through a selection process consist of a diverse group of students,” Floyd said. “It shows how we as a student body are looking at the individuals themselves, not letting their cultural background define them.”

Brooke Jones, junior English major, said she felt without any question or doubt that A&M embraces diversity.

 “I think that Texas A&M does a good job of embracing diversity,” Jones said. “Even in the years since I’ve been going to school here I’ve been able to see a greater appreciation for all types of people, which I think is reflected in the attitudes of the student body as a whole.”

Though students like Jones and Floyd do not necessarily see the issue of diversity as an issue that many Aggies deal with, the workshop will serve as a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas.  
Jones said students could learn from the workshop how to engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers about the sensitive issue of diversity and explore their own thoughts, beliefs and perceptions on the issue.

“Who Hates the “D” Word?” will be from 5:30–7 p.m. in MSC Room 2401.

 

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