"This Is Our House" diversity week starts Nov. 29

November 22, 2010

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater have organized a week’s worth of events to celebrate diversity and promote a safe campus atmosphere.

“This Is Our House” diversity week runs Nov. 29 – Dec. 3.

“We want to get the message out that we don’t tolerate hate at UW-Whitewater,” said junior Donvontae Walton, coordinator.

Events include guest speakers, a panel discussion, Safe Zone training, the “Game of Life” social experiment and an “Express Yourself” party and game day.

Student Affairs representatives will also participate in a question and answer session during the week’s Residence Hall Association meeting. Vice Chancellor Tom Rios and Assistant Vice Chancellor Brent Bilodeau will listen to student perspectives on the recent hate incidents.

“We want to ensure that all students feel safe and supported at UW-Whitewater,” Bilodeau said. “Dr. Rios and I have visited a number of student meetings on campus. We've been inspired by our students’ call for unity against hate.”

Earlier this month, the university had very productive meetings with students and faculty and staff to share concerns and discuss strategies for dealing with these events. The importance of coming together to share information and ideas was clearly communicated. A campus-wide "We Are All Purple" forum will be held on Wednesday to continue this dialogue. Everyone is invited to attend.

One of the panels, “Ask a Black Dude,” will feature African-American students fielding open-ended questions from audience members.

“It’s a chance to understand what people of a different race go through day to day,” Walton said. “If people don’t want to ask questions out loud, pen and paper will be available so people can submit questions anonymously.”

Another interactive diversity event is “The Game of Life.” Those who participate will be given a scenario in which diversity issues come into play. They will then be asked how they would react to a given situation.

“New Faces of America” details life experiences from a variety of people in the United States, including a blind African American and a southern gay minister. A feedback and discussion session with the actors will follow the show.

Events conclude Friday with “Express Yourself,” an afternoon of music and games in the Down Under.

The complete list of events:

  • Monday, Nov. 29
    Ta-Nehisi Coates will be speaking on “The Beautiful Struggle and Changing Meanings of Race in America” in the Young Auditorium at 7 p.m.
  • “The Game of Life” will be held in the Hamilton Room, James R. Connor University Center, 8:30 - 10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 30
    “Ask a Black Dude” panel in the Old Main Ballroom, UC 275B, 7 – 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 1
    “New Faces of America” in the Hamilton Room at 2:15 p.m.
  • “We Are All Purple” forum in the Timmerman Auditorium (room 1000) in Hyland Hall at 4 p.m.
  • RHA meeting at 7 p.m. in UC 259 featuring Tom Rios and Brent Bilodeau.
  • Thursday, Dec. 2
    Campus-wide Safe Zone I Training, 4-6:30 p.m. in Esker 108 and 5–7:30 p.m. in UC 259B, 68A and 69.
  • Friday, Dec. 3
    “Express Yourself” will be happening from noon-3 p.m in the Down Under in the UC.


Sara Kuhl