Buckman Theatre was packed this past Saturday, with students displaying their team names on their shirts, such as “180’s Ladies” and “Where’s Waldo.” Excitement ran through the halls of Buckman as 200 Commons freshmen waited anxiously with their groups to find out what they were about to participate in.
Resident Advisors are required to do a certain number of programs per semester with their students. A program on diversity is especially necessary at Quinnipiac, in order to promote and inform students about the need for diversity that is lacking at this school.
“I feel that diversity is an issue on campus and that working with the freshmen is key to helping their growth,” Jackie Trojanowski, an RA in Commons, said.
Commons residential advisors met with Tyrone Black, Quinnipiac’s Director of Multicultural Affairs, and came up with an afternoon’s worth full of activities to promote diversity.
The day started off with volunteer freshmen from Commons meeting outside of Buckman Theatre. One group at a time, they had to sign in and choose two members from their team to be a part of the activities that would be leading the program. Those students who were selected to lead the program displayed descriptions of different types of people, such as “middle class gay male” and “African- American lesbian female” on the front of their shirts.
The rest of the students were given paper weights, made out of string with pieces of paper on each end that would be used during the activity.
The program began with a speech given by Tyrone Black.
“Today we are talking about the weight of reality,” Black said.
He spoke about diversity and racial discrimination, and his personal experiences with it. He displayed the weights he has had to carry throughout his life by placing several paper weights on his shoulders.
“What does diversity have to do with you?,” Black asked the students.
He explained that everyone has to carry some type of weight on their shoulders as a result of prejudices and stereotypes. The paper weights that the students were given were to provide them with an opportunity to write down their personal beliefs about specific types of people, as well as learn about what other people may think of them. Once they wrote them down, they placed them on the shoulders of the students who were selected in the beginning of the program who displayed different types of people categorized by social class, race, and sexuality.
Students were also asked to choose between two types of people and explain why they chose one over the other. For example, when asked to choose between a gay male or a female lesbian, all but 10 students said that they would prefer a female lesbian because they believed they are accepted more in society than gay males.
After the program, students enjoyed a multicultural lunch. Following lunch was the raffle, where prizes included gift certificates for Showcase Cinemas, Friday’s, Panera, Coldstone, and an I-pod shuffle.
The final part of the program was a scavenger hunt. Students were given a packet a week earlier, having to do with different facts on race, sexual orientation, religion, history and socio-economic class. This information assisted them in their campus-wide scavenger hunt, where they followed clues and competed for top prizes such as a professional massage at a local spa.
“The program went great, I am very happy,” Trojanowski said.
Saturday’s activities provided an enjoyable and informative program for the students.
“I think the students learned a lot about themselves and how they treat each other,” Black said.