WILLISTON, N.D. - In honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, Williston State College students, faculty, and staff hosted their first Diversity Week from Monday, April 4 to Friday, April 8. Each day diversity events raised awareness of different cultures, customs, and lifestyles.
WSC's fifteen member Diversity Club hosted Diversity week's first three events.
Monday, April 4, WSC's Diversity Club and Student Senate welcomed Edward J. SanFilippo, a guest speaker to discuss "The XYZs of Gender: One Man's Transgender Experience."
"Ed has spoken in my COMM 216: Intercultural Communication class since 2011," Kim Weismann, Arts and Human Sciences Department Chair and Diversity Club Advisor, stated. "Ed was a good person to bring on campus and help educate WSC about a topic a lot of people know very little about. We were honored he could be part of WSC's first Diversity Week."
Tuesday, April 5, Diversity Club members sold t-shirts promoting Diversity Awareness Day. All proceeds will go to WSC's Diversity Club for future diversity events.
Wednesday, April 6, faculty, staff members and students were encouraged to respectfully wear a traditional outfit for Cultural Clothing Day. A Nigeria native, Israel Udoka was voted best dressed and received a $10 gift card to Andrea's, WSC's Bookstore.
"Several of our students were bummed that they could not participate because a lot of their traditional outfits are in their native countries," Weismann explained. "We were very happy, though, that we had the great participation that we did have."
Thursday, April 7, Weismann's COMM 216 class Festival of Food Day in the entrance of Stevens Hall. Food items ranged from Japanese sushi and Chinese chicken to Norwegian lefse and a popular Australian dessert called lamingtons.
"The class took the initiative on this event and planned everything." Weismann explained. "They were very excited to share different foods with our campus."
To close out Diversity Week, WSC hosted Mystery Food Tasting from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 8 in the entrance of Steven Hall.
The Diversity Club hosted an event like this before with much success. The club served unique dishes but kept the cultural source a mystery to encourage people to try new foods. This year, Weismann convinced close to thirty people to try head cheese (pig/cow head boiled) and liver sausage.
"Understanding someone's culture often is represented through trying their food; it is a sign of respect," Weismann stated. "A lot of people will not try new foods because they psych themselves out about what it might be. This is a fun way to get people to try new foods while respecting new cultures."
The eleven North Dakota University System schools offer a Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver to fifteen students who can prove a financial need, cultural background, and a means to increase cultural diversity awareness on campus.
Annually, students are selected by a committee and must attend two Diversity Club meetings a semester, one fundraising event per semester, and one diversity event per semester. Students can get a half tuition waiver for a 2.0-2.5 GPA and a full tuition waiver for a 2.5-4.0 GPA. If any student fails to meet and maintain these requirements, the waiver can be revoked for the spring semester.
"WSC's enrollment has increased with the Williams County Graduate Scholarship this year. We have broken a second spring enrollment record with 1,028 students." Natalie Boese, WSC Communications Specialist, stated. "Of those 1,028 students, 24.61% are from an ethnically diverse background."
WSC's Diversity Club is growing and open to new members. Students, faculty, and staff interested in joining, please contact Kim Weismann. Community members with ideas for Diversity Club events are also encouraged to contact Weismann.
For more information about the WSC's Diversity Club contact Kim Weismann at 701.774.4503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any information regarding WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu, call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.