Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Unity Week kicks off with a bang

Unity Week kicks  off with a bang

Focusing on leadership and diversity in the 21st century, Saturday’s Multicultural Summit “starts off Unity Week with a bang,” according to Craig Cullinane, associate director of diversity services.

Unity Week is a traditional collaboration between students, faculty and administrators to recognize, as a whole, diversity and the value and vitality of pluralism within individuals and the Suffolk experience. Planned events include entertainment, speakers, dialogues, food and music.

Sponsored by the Office of Disability Services, the summit was facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, president and founder of the Washington Consulting Group, a Baltimore-based multicultural organizational development firm.

The day-long workshop focused on developing diversity and leadership skills by understanding one’s multiple social identities and the social change model of leadership, and developing problem-solving skills in intra/inter-personal learning.

“It was really about building skill in diversity and leadership,” said Cullinane. “We brought in this amazing trainer for [the summit] to talk about how you can have conversations about race and difference. People say things like, ‘I don’t see color,’ and [the summit] helps how you acknowledge that these differences exist and how you can work with them.”

According to Cullinane, a turnout of over 70 students and faculty filled the Sargent Hall first floor conference room. “Progress has really grown,” said Cullinane, as the first year had 20 participants, doubled the second year, and drew 50 last year.

“The event acknowledged that people have prejudice,” he said. “It helps answer the question, ‘how do I interact with people different than me?’ It works with examining privilege- what it is, who has it and why.”

Throughout the day, planned activities including ice breakers and identity discussions led attendees to examine the challenges of diversity.

Samienta Pierre-Vil, a sophomore, senator and Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA) secretary (among other positions), said group activities included sharing perceptions of boys, girls, race, and drugs, and how those perceptions have changed over the years.

Small groups were also arranged for everyone to tell their own story within eight categories: an important fact about self, something most conscious about, race, gender, sexual orientation, something special, nationality, age, and ablism.

“We wanted everybody to interact and meet new people,” said Josiana Decarvalho, 2012, CVSA vice president. “It was cool because you were working with people you’ve never met.”

The Unity Week team consists mainly of students working with Katherine Bauer, associate director of Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) and David DeAngelis, SLI director of student activities.

Previous events between the summit and today have included the Suffolk Showdown in the residence halls on Sunday and on Monday, a Qur’an Study, a screening of The Journey of Cape Verde, a lecture by James Carroll, and a discussion regarding managing diversity in the legal academy on Monday.

Yesterday’s disability awareness concert featured Brittany Maier, a blind, autistic and mentally disabled musical talent, who performed last year. Yesterday was also the Shrove Tuesday Christian celebration and GLBTQ panel, Torah study, LGBTQA family dinner, a Turkish dinner, and the Inkas Wasi Peruvian music and dance performance.

Today’s trip to the Museum of Science will provide the opportunity to explore the latest interactive exhibit, Race: Are we so Different? Christian Bible study, Benedictine meditation and a Francophone heritage study will be open.

Thursday will host a discussion about inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace, a Mandaeans discussion with student Aseel Maarij, Buddhist meditation, and event with Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, including a meet and greet. The empowerment group for women of color will meet on Friday.

Tonight’s Unity Week Showcase celebrates culture through the arts in the C. Walsh Theatre. “It’s like Fall Fest; it is a chance for the different cultural groups on campus to perform, like the step team and an Indonesian folk dance,” said Cullinane.

Immediately following the showcase will be the Unity Week Fair. Various cultural dishes will be served in the Donahue Cafe from CVSA, the Caribbean Student Network, Black Student Union, Suffolk University Hispanic Association, and the Italian American Student Union.

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Unity Week kicks off with a bang