Engagement Office Promotes Diversity with Theme Months

by Laura Archer, Contributing Writer

Did you enjoy the programming offered around campus for Black History Month? Then you’ll be happy to hear that the Office of Student Engagement is launching a new initiative to promote diversity on Drew’s campus through new monthly-themed programs.

Tashir Hampton, the Coordinator of Residential Engagement, stated, “The goal of Theme Month Programming is to encourage and promote a campus culture which embraces and celebrates all people with a focus on cross-campus/departmental collaboration.”

The idea for these theme months came from a want to strengthen the events put on by the Student Engagement Office. By having a specific theme, Tashir said, the Office will be able to hone in on and improve the events that the campus community already loves, but now add in a specific focus to flavor the events. In continuum, a push came from Student Government, which requested the office to spend 25% of its funds on diversity programs.

The initiative started this month with events celebrating black history. The Office of Student Engagement partnered with a variety of different clubs on campus to provide a variety of different programming that will surely serve as a model for future theme month programming. The month kicked off with the Black Ministerial Caucus luncheon at the beginning of the month. By far, the most popular event was the talk given by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, co-sponsored by the Muslim Student Association among many other clubs. The last event of the month will be a trip to African American Museum in Philadelphia on Sat. Feb. 25.     

If February is any example, then the theme month initiative is definitely a promising vehicle for the promotion of diversity on campus. With the Theme Month Program, the office wishes to host three programs per month, including off-campus trips and a variety of different events. Plans for future months are already in place; March will be Women’s Herstory month and April will be Asian Heritage month.

Students around campus are excited to participate in the Theme Month programs and see what this new initiative has in store. Stephanie Vitellaro (’19) shared her excitement saying, “It is a good idea that Drew is recognizing its diversity.”  Another student, Adam Oppegaard (’19), brainstormed, “I would be interested in having a theme that focuses on the disabled population. I think it would be a good community-builder to bring awareness to the campus as a whole.” Bri Vazquez-Smith (’19) expressed a wish to see a Latino Heritage Month saying, “I’d love to see and celebrate a month that represent my heritage, especially since I’m so far away from home.”
A step in the right direction, this new initiative will surely combat some of the vitriolic and hateful ideologies and rhetoric polluting our current world. Make sure to stay on the lookout a new influx of diversity programming from the Office of Student Engagement.

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