Diversity Dinners began to raise awareness around relevant issues on campus. Previously, the Diversity Center would reach out to certain groups on campus, but currently they are open to every student group on campus.
Program Coordinator for the Diversity Center Corey Torres began and now spearheads the dinners along with two students, some of whom are sophomore and Student Training & Workshops Coordinator Yee Leng Yang, junior and Student Program Assistant Kendra Pankow and freshman and Student Program Assistant Michael Thao.
“It is important that we find a way within our community to bring people together to fight for what this campus needs,” began Torres. “One of the core initiatives the campus has been talking about is to move toward a more inclusive space.” Torres believes that “creating peaceful spaces to have courageous conversations” is an excellent first step to make this happen, as it creates a “ripple effect in the community.”
“The [ultimate goal] is to plant seeds in as many groups of people as possible, and also to create a space for student groups to challenge [themselves] to reflect on the role they play in making Lawrence a more inclusive and welcoming environment,” continued Torres.
Luckily, Torres assures that the dinners have been going on without a hitch.
“When planning the dinners, our minds have always been open and aware of what might surface during some of the discussions,” said Torres. “One thing to keep in mind is that whenever there is a conversation around race, you must know your role and not take anything personal if someone outwardly says something you disagree with. That’s a part of growth, and what will allow one to actively engage in what is needed for this campus to truly move forward.”
Torres sees Diversity Dinners continuing to thrive on campus, even after his departure.
“I started [these dinners], and after I depart in June my hope is that [they] will continue to grow. In the near future, I foresee this becoming something that the university implements, as a means to raise the level of urgency around social issues on campus, and designate a space for groups to come together as a community,” concluded Torres.
Besides the dinners, the Diversity Center will be hosting an end-of-the-year party. The Diversity Center Spring Mixer will be on June 5 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the Diversity Center. There will be performances by current Lawrence students and live music performed by Lawrence alumni.