All Roads Lead to the Union: Newsletter
To kick off the new semester, the Union Programming Council’s (UPC) Arts & Special Events board organized a community event titled, “Diversity & U”. Diversity & U featured an array of student groups, organizations, and campus departments that strive to promote diversity and inclusion at the University of Utah. The event opened with a tabling session that featured traditional and significant cultural and religious foods, garb, and music. Attendees were prompted to visit as many tables as possible to have the best opportunity to win a prize.
Participants enjoyed socializing, engaging in cultural exchange, light refreshments, and a series of cultural performances put on by student groups and organizations. Some of the performances included KPop numbers by the F.P.S. Dance Crew, X-Movement, Japanese Kendo, Character Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklorico Metzonalli, and Bollywood numbers. The performances were cultivating with upbeat music and colorful traditional wear. Many attendees and spectators commented on the energy of excitement and pride radiating from the performers.
After a short intermission Arts and Special Events Director, Bryan Luu, lead a panel discussion on diversity in the workplace. The panel featured Tinesha Zandamela, a Ph. D. candidate at Brigham Young University who engages in diversity and inclusion work through advocacy for sexual assault survivors and involvement in her local government community hearings. Joren Plunkett, a Graduate Assistant of the A. Ray Olpin University Union and Masters of Education student also served on the panel drawing on her professional and lived experiences of activism and addressing conflict. Dr. Irene Ota, whom works with the College of Social Work and serves as a Program Manager and Diversity Coordinator also sat on the panel reminding audience members about the “first story” in the United States and encouraged audience members to find and use their voice.
While each panelist provided a unique perspective on diversity within the workplace, they all agreed that being your authentic self was key to persisting and overcoming times of adversity. The Union Programming Council, especially the Arts and Special Events Board would like to thank all those whom attended and assisted in the collaboration of the tremendously successful event.