A Message from the Student Body Vice President
Diversity. This is a term we hear over and over and over again. Living in a community of higher education, everyone from our RA to our professors emphasize the “importance of diversity.”
Even our own country focuses a lot of attention on the concept of diversity. We all grew up hearing the analogy that America the Beautiful is a “melting pot,” or perhaps more accurately, a “salad bowl.” The Land of the Free brings in people from a multitude of nationalities, religions, cultures, etc. College, specifically, is a rare opportunity to experience our own version of the “salad bowl” and to appreciate the diverse world we live in.
But what does it mean to appreciate diversity?
Coming into college, I held a very distorted view of diversity. I grew up near a small town in Eastern Iowa; a town comprised 99% of white Catholics. While I have pride in my hometown, I never understood until I came to UNI how unrealistic and unrepresentative this is of the world. Based on my subject positioning as a freshman, “participating in diversity” simply meant having a conversation with someone of a different religious or ethnic background than myself.
With my various leadership positions and interactions with varied individuals, my outlook on diversity began to grow throughout college. However, I still struggled with the same narrow understanding of what diversity truly means. When I ran for my position as Vice President, I wanted to “improve UNI’s ‘diversity problems.’” At the time, I thought this could “be solved” by things like recruiting more minority students, hiring more faculty members of color, etc. While these are worthwhile pursuits for the university, I now realize that this isn’t what diversity improvement is truly about. You can’t simply throw more tomatoes into the salad and expect it to taste better.
My perception of diversity continued to improve through a series of diversity workshops I participated in through UNI’s “diversity fellows.” In addition, this past summer I attended a week-long leadership camp called “Leadershape.” Here, I had the privilege of spending a full week bonding with incredible student leaders from all backgrounds and all corners of the U.S.
Invigorated by Leadershape, I returned with fellow Leadershape alums/NISG Senators Nate Konrardy and Chris Apling with the initial idea for “Unity Week.” We sought to produce something on campus geared towards setting aside assumptions and eliminating prejudice. In the same way that Homecoming Week brings us together as Panthers, we wanted a week to bring us together as people, appreciating everyone for who they are. We want the UNI student body and community actively setting aside prejudice to foster an inclusive environment. We seek to unite to make UNI, and the world, a better place. A quote by author John Green embodies how I feel we should view each other as people: "There is no Them; there are only facets of us.”
Since this is the first year of UNIty Week, we kept it small and simple. Our hope is that the concept behind UNIty Week will continue to grow in magnitude and impact in future years. While one week of simple programs will not change the world, it is certainly a step towards our vision. The events are only a vessel to promote the greater message. Here is a list of this week’s events:
*Monday - Unity Banner
This banner exhibits the word “UNITY,” with the quote “Out of many, one.” Throughout the day/week, we will ask many UNI students and employees to sign or decorate the banner. This banner will be put on display and demonstrates that so many of us are unique, while still part of a greater whole. Stop by our table in the Union or the NISG office to leave your mark!
*Tuesday - Inclusivity Activity
NISG has collaborated with the Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) to host an interactive event. The event will be held Tuesday at 4 PM in the Maucker Union Hemisphere Lounge (behind Chats.) The event is open to all people to participate in the diversity-oriented activities and win prizes!
*Wednesday - Talent Show
The International Student Association will be hosting a talent show in the Maucker Union Coffee House on Wednesday night at 8. Exchange students from a variety of countries will showcase their talents, as well as anyone else who would like to participate! This will not be a competition, but rather a celebration of uniqueness from around the state, country, and world. If you are interested in celebrating your talent, please contact myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ramya Varadaraju (email@example.com).
*Thursday - Unity Demonstration
The week concludes with a powerful demonstration event. We will symbolically break down our differences and the barriers created by them. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so be sure to make your way to the Maucker Union coffeehouse at 12:30! If you would like to participate in the event, please contact myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Darvel Givens (email@example.com).
I am by no means an expert on diversity. I hope to continue learning from unique and different individuals for the rest of my life. But I have begun to understand that diversity is not just about our “labels.” Diversity is not just about our background, our nationality, our sexual orientation, our skin color, or our beliefs. Diversity is not just about minorities. Diversity appreciation is not just seeking to end discrimination. Diversity appreciation is not just about strength in numbers or our actions. Everyone is unique, so EVERYONE is diverse. Diversity is all around us; it is the reality and the beauty of the world we live in.
Diversity appreciation is a mindset. When we set aside assumptions and prejudice, and embrace each other for who we are, we can learn and grow as a community. As this mindset spreads, we begin to change the world.
So, whether you are a tomato or a crouton, I encourage you to spread the word and participate in UNIty Week; but more importantly, continue to reach out to others to strive for a world of diversity appreciation.
Happy UNIty Week, and as always, Go Panthers!
Monday, March 19 - Slam Poet Sierra DeMulder
7 PM - Hemisphere Lounge, Maucker Union
Come see Sierra DeMulder, two-time National Poetry Slam champion perform in the Union! The opening acts will be student performances. This event is sponsored by One Iowa at UNI and UNIFI. Check out the facebook event for more information.
Tuesday, March 20 - "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" Film
7 to 9 PM - Gallagher-Bluedorm Performing Arts Center
How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence? Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future? These are some of the questions posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by filmmaker and explorer Rick Ray. Ray examines some of the fundamental questions of our time by weaving together observations from his own journeys throughout India and the Middle East, and the wisdom of an extraordinary spiritual leader. This is his story, as told and filmed by Rick Ray during a private visit to his monastery in Dharamsala, India over the course of several months. Also included is rare historical footage as well as footage supplied by individuals who at great personal risk, filmed with hidden cameras within Tibet. Part biography, part philosophy, part adventure and part politics, “10 Questions for The Dalai Lama” conveys more than history and more than answers - it opens a window into the heart of an inspiring man. If you had only one hour, what would you ask?
Thursday, March 22 - Women's History Month Panel: Men in Feminism
3:30 to 5 PM - Seerley 115
The Men in Feminism panel will examine men’s roles as feminists and how men can advocate for women’s rights. The panelists are: Harry Brod, philosophy & world religions; Alan Heisterkamp, Mentors in Violence Prevention program; Mark Rowe-Barth, Substance Abuse & Violence Intervention Services; Adam Livengood, graduate student; and David Pope, undergraduate student.
The Sixth Annual 10 Minute Play Festival
Saturday, March 24 at 9 PM; Sunday, March 25 at 4 PM - Bertha Martin Theater, Strayer-Wood Theater
The 10-Minute Play Festival features six original short plays written, directed and performed entirely by UNI students. Performances range from wildly funny to stunningly poignant. Admission is $5.
I. Call to Order – 7:00 PM
II. Roll Call
III. Identification of the Press
IV. Student Forum and Announcements
V. Call for Changes to the Orders of the Day
VI. Approval of the Consent Agenda
1. Consideration and Approval of the Minutes
a. 23rd Regular Senate Meeting Minutes
2. Approval of University Committee Appointments
3. Approval of Senate Standing Committee Appointments
4. Approval of New Senators
a. Thomas Madsen – Campbell Hall Senator
VII. Say Hello to Lisa
VIII. Special Business
1. Amy Dillard
2. Freedom Week: Rachel Danley
3. Swearing of Thomas Madsen
IX. Reports of the Executive Officers
1. President Walrath
2. Vice President Goldsmith
3. Director of Administration and Finance Reed
4. Director of Public Relations Johnson
5. Director of Diversity and Student Life Mayberry-Mayes
6. Director of Governmental Relations Greenway
7. Chief of Staff Brueck
X. Reports of the Standing Committees
1. Organization & Finance – Givens and Trampel
2. Government & Legislative Affairs – Parker and Derringer
3. Public Relations & Programming – Koss and Lunn
4. Student Affairs – Konrardy and Findley
5. External Relations –Bancroft-Smithe and Gibbs
XI. Report of the Speaker
XII. Old Business
1. SSB 2012-51 UNITY Week
2. SSB 2012-52 Regents Day Funding
XIII. Non-Controversial Docket
1. SSR-2012-24 Support through increased funding to maintain the academic excellence of the University of Northern Iowa
2. SSR-2012-25 Supporting a United University of Northern
XIV. Controversial Docket
1. SSB 2012-53 UNI Philosophy Club and Computer Club
The Northern Iowa Student Government Bancroft-Smithe White Administration is seeking applicants for the following upper cabinet positions:
Executive Branch 2012-2013
Director of Administration and Finance
Director of Governmental Relations
Director of Public Relations
Director of Diversity and Student Life
Director of Administration and Finance: The Director of Administration and Finance shall manage and coordinate the spending of allocated funds in cooperation with the Organization and Finance Committee of the Senate. The Director of Administration and Finance shall also oversee the recognition of new student organizations approved by Senate. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions of clarification regarding the role of the Director of Administration and Finance.
Director of Governmental Relations: The Director of Governmental Relations is responsible for all collaboration regarding the statewide branding campaign and student body advocacy efforts. This individual shall meet regularly with members of the state legislature and is an ex-officio member of the External Relations Committee of the Senate. Please contact email@example.com with questions of clarification regarding the role of the Director of Governmental Relations.
Director of Public Relations: The Director of Public Relations shall be responsible for coordinating media relations efforts, managing the NISG website and social media, and developing graphic art for Northern Iowa Student Government. This individual sits ex-officio on the Campus Relations Committee of the Senate. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions of clarification regarding the role of the Director of Public Relations.
Director of Diversity and Student Life: The Director of Diversity and Student Life shall be responsible for the enhancement of student life through academic and social venues and shall promote the recognition and appreciation of diversity at the University of Northern Iowa. This individual sits ex-officio on the Campus Relations Committee of the Senate. Please contact email@example.com.
NOTE: All applicants must supply two references (preferably people on campus; include name, position, office phone number and e-mail address). In addition, Director of Public Relations applicants must submit a design sample, a writing sample and an example of a press release for media communication. Please email these to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Use “Position_Name” for the subject-line.
Applications are now available and due March 21st, 2012 no later than 5 p.m.
Regents Day at the Statehouse held on Thursday March 29th 7:30AM to 4PM is an annual event in which students from the three campuses travel to Des Moines to participate in advocacy activities at the State Capitol. Students engage in individual meetings with legislators, as well as sit in on committee meetings and observe floor action. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about and participate in the political process. Students prepare briefing materials and presentations in advance of the trip, as well as learn about protocol. Faculty are requested to consider, as appropriate, allowing absences from class and/or opportunities for make-up work for students wishing to attend. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions or concerns regarding Regents Day 2012.