More than 40 musical performances, workshops, lectures, wellness activities and more will help to inspire a celebration of diversity on campus year round during West Virginia University’s annual Diversity Week held Oct. 17-22. This year’s theme is “Let It Shine.”
“During this week, we celebrate the richness of the many cultures here at the University, and it is an opportunity for diversity to shine throughout the campus and the Morgantown community,” said Jennifer McIntosh, executive director of the WVU President’s Office for Social Justice.
This year’s event focuses on building an inclusive community and is collaboratively planned by the WVU President’s Office for Social Justice, the Monongalia County School System and the city of Morgantown.
A celebration of Indian culture called Tarang will kick off Diversity Week on Saturday, Oct. 17 in honor of the Indian festival of lights called Diwali.
“In India, Diwali is typically celebrated during the fall season – on the day of festival, people traditionally light ‘diyas’ or earthen lamps in their homes and conduct ‘pujas’ or prayer ceremonies. They also get together with family and friends, exchange gifts and share their meals,” said Mayuri Mukherjee, public relations coordinator for the WVU Indian Students Association. “The greater significance of Diwali goes beyond its religious concerns and lies in its celebration of the universal values that have united societies for centuries – peace, love and goodness.”
The Tarang includes a dinner at Hatfields in the Mountainlair from 5-7 p.m. and a Diwali event in the ballrooms until 9 p.m.
Here are some highlights of Diversity Week:
Sunday, Oct. 18
International students will continue their Mini-World Cup soccer tournament during Diversity Week on the Mountainlair Plaza green at 1 p.m. Members of the public and WVU community are invited to attend a community potluck picnic from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Dorsey Knob Lodge sponsored by the Community Coalition for Social Justice.
Monday, Oct. 19
The International Festival will celebrate the many cultures that make WVU unique from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event features customs and traditions from students’ native lands sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars. At noon, there will be Afro-Brazilian drumming in the Mountainlair Commons and bellydancing in the Rhododendron Room at 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 20
At 11:30 a.m., a peace tree ceremony will be held outside of Martin Hall/Woodburn Circle which will mark the anniversary of Columbus’s landing in the Americas and commemorates the University’s commitment to the rediscovery of America’s Indian heritage. The event features native drumming and an appearance by “Thunder,” a bald eagle from the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
Wednesday, Oct. 21
The Women of Color Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms will feature entertainment by the Balafon West African Dance Ensemble. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Sadie Gregory of Coppin State University. She is an author and lecturer on national issues of banking, finance and the economics of discrimination.
Thursday, Oct. 22
Representatives from Hearts of Gold, a seeing-eye dog service will demonstrate how Golden Retrievers are trained to help accommodate the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired at 10 a.m. The WVU Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and Pharmacy will host a diversity fair at 11 a.m. in the Health Sciences Commons Area. Exhibits will showcase student outreach efforts around the world, and there will also be food samplings and music. Other presentations and events continue throughout the day, and Diversity Week will conclude with a steel drum concert in the Mountainlair Ballrooms at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The WVU community and general public are encouraged to participate in Diversity Week events. For a full schedule and more information, see http://socialjustice.wvu.edu/news_and_events/diversity_week_2009/.
CONTACT: Sharon Mallow, President’s Office for Social Justice