By hosting the first ever Diversity Mini-Week, the Diversity and Inclusion Agency hopes to show how embracing different experiences can positively impact students and the campusas as a whole.
“I just automatically think of diversity of strength, because it’s different people from different places that have so many things to contribute,” said Karla Chavez, director of the agency. “The limits are basically nonexistent when you put people from different communities together.”
Chavez, an international relations junior, said she was dissatisfied with the action taken by administration against divisive rhetoric on campus and helped create the mini-week to counteract that.
“Sometimes we don’t think it’s enough to just hold a town hall or just to get an email,” Chavez said. “We want more action from (administration), especially right now.”
J.B. Bird, director of media relations, said University administration is continuously addressing the divisive rhetoric and the town hall, where students could voice their concerns, is part of that.
“Listening is a form of action,” Bird said. “These are actions that acquire attention on an on-going basis.”
Partnering with Students for Equity and Diversity, the agency started the mini-week on Monday, inviting students to add their definitions of diversity to a paper tree.
Yesterday, students were asked to write where they came from at the Longhorns Around the World table. To finish the week, there will be a student leader panel today on diversity at 6 p.m. in SAC 3.116.
Panelist Juan Otero said his experiences being bisexual and Columbian are intertwined, and intersectionality cannot be ignored.
“Our identities will change how we grow up, how we experience oppression or how we experience privilege,” said Otero, a chemical engineering, chemistry and French sophomore. “If we’re talking about diversity, why would you only recognize one difference instead of all of the differences that make you unique?”
Journalism freshman Jade Fabello, who is black, stopped by the Longhorns Around the World table to write his hometowns of Austin and Chicago as he said he sees “inherent value” in talking about diversity.
With UT’s black student population at 3.9 percent and similar demographics at his Austin high school, Fabello said Austin has been important in shaping the role of diversity in his life.
“Always being a minority in the institutions I’m in, it does create challenges,” Fabello said. “From those challenges and adversity you grow as a person. You can have a better understanding of a variety of different struggles.”