January 15, 2015 marked the inaugural Diversity and Global Engagement Expo. The University Libraries’ Diversity Committee and Orolando Duffus, the Diversity Resident Librarian, were the main catalyst behind the event. The delicious food and exquisite pineapple punch were jointly sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
|Library staff display diverse collections|
The cold 300F day of January 15, 2015 was eclipsed by the warmth, flare and excitement that permeated Jackson Library’s Reading Room. The library’s main floor Reading Room was transformed into a multicultural oasis that attracted students representing all inhabited continents. The buzzing atmosphere was bursting with curious patrons; some came out for cultural enrichment and exposure, while others merely stumbled upon what one participant described as “a day of delights.” Some international students even hinted that the event organizers did an astonishing job of identifying and selecting authentic foods that are popular in their native lands.
|Sampling food from different cultures|
The well attended multicultural awareness exposition was highly rated by participants and is regarded as a “must-go” event for coming years. There were eleven multicultural organizations in attendance promoting their products and services to the dozens of students that were in attendance. Many of the participants indicated that the diversity expo enhanced their awareness of different cultural practices. Some of the activities included sampling different foods and sharing interesting facts or common misconceptions about some cultures.
|Representatives from eleven multicultural organizations speak with students|
Live music provided by an acoustic guitarist was well received and it certainly set the tone for the event. The melody of the guitar was earthy; it captivated the attention of the audience without interrupting the continuous exchange of information. The conversations ranged from study abroad opportunities to the difficulties of Muslims living in the United States of America.
The event concluded with a panel discussion where students, student leaders and members of UNCG’s administration and faculty convened to discuss social justice and human rights issues globally. The panelists included Dr. Penelope Pynes (Associate Provost, International Programs), Dr. Mark Villacorta (Assistant Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs), Mr. Curtis Tarver (Associate Director, Campus Activities and Programs), Dr. David Nelson (Director, Quality Enhancement Plan), Edna Chun (Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources), Mr. Joseph Graham (Vice President, Student Government Association), and other student leaders. The discussion was moderated by Omar Ali (Associate Professor, African American & African Diaspora Studies).
The Diversity and Global Engagement Exposition was a part of a cultural enrichment initiative that aims to provide access to culture so that every Spartan, regardless of national origin or domicile, may exude a high level of intercultural competence. Based on the success and campus-wide support of this event, we plan to propose another Expo for the next academic year.
--Written by Orolando Duffus