SHU community comes together to celebrate differences for Diversity Week 2016

Expression is an art form that delivers a story of emotions, experiences and perspectives which prides in language. The words spoken, whether through written pieces, artistic images and verbal discussions, shows how voicing perspectives can create value in the word: diversity.

Diversity week, which started on March 29 runs through with a week’s worth of events until April 1.

The Student Government Association (SGA), Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC) and P.O.E.T.I.C collaborated while Student Activities Board (SAB) and Unified Student Assembly cosponsored with Student Life to construct Diversity Week.

“Diversity Week is all about bringing together the Seton Hall community by recognizing and celebrating our differences,” said Alyssa Behrendt, a sophomore economic major and director of marketing in SAB.

Behrendt said she hopes the SHU community realizes that these events and MAC are for everyone.

“The purpose of recognizing cultural and ethnic differences with this organization is to bring everyone together to celebrate them,” Behrendt added.

There are professors, a student from SGA and a student from the Unified Student Assembly who were panelists for the event, Labels, which was held on March 30, in which a discussion was held on how labels can be conceived as positive and negative.

In this discussion, the panelists, including individuals who attended, conversed about how labels function in our society and whether they are important.

Simone A. Alexander, professor of English and director of Africana Studies, was a panelist at the Labels event and said that labels can become part of your identity and while differences can sometimes set us apart, but it can bring us together.

“I think a label can be oppressive as empowering. It depends on what type of labels we are talking about and what context it is being used,” Alexander said.

Also, spoken word artists Carlos Andrés Gómez is scheduled to speak on Thursday, March 31 at 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Theatrein-the-Round and G. Yamazawa, presented on Tuesday, March 29 at 5:30 9 p.m. in Jubilee Hall. There were also students from P.O.E.T.I.C who planned to perform their skills as openers to these spoken word artists.

Chinez Madueke, assistant director of leadership development, said it’s important for students to see a young person especially of color like G, who is really passionate about diversity issues, inclusion and how young people can really make a difference. She added that some people might feel empowered of having the label, African American or Hispanic while some might feel empowered of having the gender label, woman or male while others feel oppressed by their labels.

“I think spoken word is such a beautiful art form and I think when it comes to culture, I think it’s a great way of expressing your experience because I think that’s what diversity week is all about. It’s all about discussing different experiences and how people’s identities and their relationships with other people create a diverse environment and the complexities that go along with that,” Madueke explained when asked about why SHU decided to invite these artists.

The events showcase a variety of talented individuals, but this week is meant to spur conversations about differences and how through discussion, students can learn about others and themselves.

“I think a major part of your college experience is learning about who you are and so I think the end goal for diversity week, for me, is for students to take away at least one thing that they learned about themselves and so later they can apply it to their life or to this community because I think the littlest changes are very impactful,” Madueke added.

Diversity week ends with the last event, SHU Faces, April 1 at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pirates Cove in which, with the help of MAC, a collage of diverse student faces will be compiled which will have a twist.

Nisha Desai can be reached at

Author: Nisha Desai

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