Multicultural groups sponsor week of events to encourage diversity discussions at SU
Those on the Syracuse University campus during the past week may have noticed students and faculty wearing bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with ‘talk2me2knowme.’
Throughout this week, the Multicultural Living Learning Community, working in conjunction with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the peer mentorship program Dimensions, have been presenting students with a series of formal and informal events discussing diversity at SU.
The groups have used the yellow shirts to broadcast support of the multicultural events.
Events have included roundtable discussions of contemporary American Indian issues, the issues black women face on campus and a class on empathy between differing religious beliefs. The week began with a simultaneous recitation of a poem in eight languages including English, Hindi and Mandarin to illustrate similarities in linguistic patterns. The same poem was also read in Watson Theater on Wednesday night in six languages.
‘People are responsive to it,’ said Shirley Giraldo, who participated in the event by reading the poem in Spanish. ‘Everybody wants to know what it’s about. It’s nice.’
Giraldo said the multilingual reading had previously been used at the dedication of the new Tolley building; it was so well-received that the MLLC decided to incorporate it into their program again.
‘There aren’t enough casual conversations across racial and cultural lines,’ said Dr. Tremayne Robertson, a Diversity Education Specialist with OMA who works extensively with the MLLC. ‘The point is to (present) engaging and interesting programs, informal conversations in a structured way and get people talking.’
Some of the events, such as Wednesday’s lecture and discussion, have been presented in a classroom format to include readings and presentations to educate students on various unfamiliar cultures.
‘I think this class is good because it provides students with a forum to look at diversity as a subject of intellectual inquiry, that all have implications beyond the classroom,’ said Dr. Silvio Torres-Saillant, an associate professor in English and textual studies and Latin American Studies, who led Wednesday’s class.
The events for the remainder of the week include the ’2knowme Challenge,’ which pairs off students of different ethnicities and challenges them to learn about the others’ cultures today in the Schine Student Center in room 304 from noon to 2 p.m., and an open house at the MLLC from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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