Diversity Week is a time to notice and reflect on what makes people in society different. The Culture and Diversity committee of the Student Programming Board gave light to the diverse ethnicities Quinnipiac embraces.
For Diversity Week, the committee conjoined with Residential Life to embrace cultural diversity by giving people the opportunity to step into another racer’s shoes. The Carl Hansen Student Center is the current home of a photo kiosk, a “photo booth” that takes a photo of one’s face and allows them to see what they would look like as a different race. The booth is open to everyone until Friday.
The kiosk works as a computer algorithm that changes the structure of one’s face. It was created by anthropologists and scientists that worked together to create a formula that will alter the structure of one’s face, according to Culture and Diversity Chair Matt Francia.
Once the photo is taken, the person has the option of choosing which race he or she would like to see himself or herself as, such as “Asian, Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Indian and White.”
“When you look at how it changes your face, it’s still you,” Francia said. “It just shows that it doesn’t matter what race you are, that you’re still a person and you’re still equal, you’re still a human. I stress that there’s only one race, and that’s the human race.”
Francia thought of bringing the photo booth to Quinnipiac after a conference he attended in North Carolina last year, for all programming boards around the country to attend. At this conference, there were vendors and agents promoting their novelties. The photo booth caught Francia’s attention first.
SPB adviser Steve Pagios was also drawn to the photo booth.
“Sometimes people are like ‘wait a minute, this sounds wrong,’ and I don’t really see it that way,” Pagios said. “I think it’s a cool chance to see what your difference will be like if you’re a different race.”
At this conference, Francia got a deeper understanding on what race actually is, he said.
“Race is something that we all think of as a thing that encloses our way of thinking,” Francia said. “It pigeon holes you into a certain category when, really, race isn’t the only thing that defines us.”
Francia went on to explain the cultural redefinition of race.
“Two people from the same race are as genetically different as two people from a different race,” Francia said. “Although we might look different, humans are actually, genetically, the most similar of all species.”
The presentation has a museum exhibit feel with a gallery of “The Ten Misconceptions of Race,” explaining what race is according to society and actual definitions.
“There’s a lot of things that I didn’t know about from a lot of different aspects of diversity that I’m learning along with the rest of my committee, and this is one of those things about these ideas that society makes about race,” Francia said. “But in the end, we are still people.
Quinnipiac’s celebration of diversity in its community will continue throughout the week.
“In Diversity Week, we’re trying to get the diversity of our students and really just show that Quinnipiac is not just one type of student, regardless of the race,” Pagios said. “This takes another level of it to show that I might be doing this booth, but I can be a different race in a sense and experience it, at least visually.”