Students dive into diversity

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Students dive into diversity

Students were blindfolded and asked questions in order to get to known each other.

Students were blindfolded and asked questions in order to get to known each other.

Kristina Aiad-Toss

Students were blindfolded and asked questions in order to get to known each other.

Kristina Aiad-Toss

Kristina Aiad-Toss

Students were blindfolded and asked questions in order to get to known each other.

By Sara Syed, Writer

More than 60 students attended UA student organization Wanderlust’s Dive into Diversity Night on Sept. 9, in the Student Union Ballroom.  

The intention of the event was to provide students with an eye-opening experience that would help them realize that everyone is more alike than different, regardless of history or appearance.  The event incorporated icebreakers, social activities, and a poem to inspire this realization.

The event began with students sitting at a round table with new acquaintances to encourage new connections and friendships. Students were to introduce each other with their name, a compliment and a hug so that the “ice would be broken right from the start,” said Justin Cohen, the event’s organizer and president of Wanderlust.

For the first event, Color the Love, each student was provided with a single crayon at their seat and a few blank puzzle pieces.  Students were told to draw “something that they love” on the puzzle piece by using their crayon and the crayons of their peers at their table.  At the end, the participants combined their puzzle pieces to create an image that represented themselves and all that they loved.

Cohen continued to use the crayon metaphor to portray how our differences are one of our greatest strengths.

Cohen asked all students how they are like a box of crayons.  Some of the students’ responses included: “even though we are all different colors we still all live in the same ‘box’ (analogy for the earth); without all of the colors in the box, we couldn’t make beautiful pictures; we all come from the same ‘creator’; and everything would be boring if we only had one color.”

Cohen also said people focus on external characteristics, rather than internal, when first meeting someone.

“Once we tap into who someone really is, we realize we’re really not that different after all,” Cohen said.

The second activity was called Blind Similarities; it involved students sitting across from a stranger, blindfolded.  The pairs of students were to talk and to discover 10 similarities between each other without seeing each other at all.  Students were asked not to remove their blindfolds until they came up with 10 similarities for each pair.  There was a lot of positive feedback after this portion of the event.

The next event was called The Human Knot. Students separated into large groups and held hands; then, they literally twisted themselves up and had to work together to untangle the “human knot” without letting go.

The final event was Let’s Get Positive. Paired with a stranger, each person had to share something that had been stressing them, and their partner was to provide a positive outlook or positive advice for the situation to teach students how to turn any negative into a positive.

One participant at the event said, “I expected this event to be boring.  My teacher told us to go to it for extra credit so I brought a notebook and a pen to take notes.  However, the event was actually a lot of fun and was a great experience.”

Finally, the event ended with vegan catering by local restaurant owner Julie Costell of Ms. Julie’s Kitchen.  Ms. Julie’s meals are mostly homegrown, sustainable and vegan.

Dive into Diversity was the first event out of many for UA’s Diversity Week. To find more events happening throughout the week, visit https://goo.gl/DxE51s.

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