Thursday, April 26, 2012

Diversity Coffee Hour

By Keotta House
Cardinal Staff

A discussion panel is held every Friday to invite and welcome Saint Mary’s University students to talk about the issue of diversity on campus.

SMU is home to a growing number of diverse students. Though the diversity is growing, students’ attitudes toward this diverse population are growing at a slower pace. A program called Diversity Coffee Hour was recently implemented by the SMU Wellness Center to help start the discussion on diversity with the possibility of bringing up ideas of how to maintain it at SMU.

Jeff Walter, a counselor at the SMU Wellness Center, said that the point of the coffee hour is not to discuss only racial diversity but every kind of diversity presenton campus.

“There are many types of diversity on campus,” Walter said. “Class, gender, sexual orientation and other groups.”

An example of one of these other groups that sometimes feel discriminated against, which people in attendance recently learned, is vegetarians.

SMU senior Chelseanne Davidson talked about the perils of being a vegetarian.

“The food service often will serve pasta with meat in the same pan as without leaving random chunks of meat,” Davidson said.

The Diversity Coffee Hour is not a “group” on campus but more so a diversity panel which takes place every Friday from 3-4 p.m. The group has a wide variety of people that attend on different occasions. During the coffee hour’s name tag event, the students in attendance got to label themselves a different stereotype than they had been called throughout their life, and there was a wide range in attendance.

The coffee hour serves as an educational experience for the people in the Saint Mary’s community. They want to have a ripple effect and have friends invite friends until they get the whole campus talking about diversity.

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