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Students discover unity in diversity

During what looked like a game of “Red Light, Green Light,” Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs, directed students Ramon Montoya, Firas Arodaki, Veronica Covarrubias, Kenan Chaballout and Brooke Hanson in an activity in the University Mall on Wednesday. They were asked to take steps forward or backward according to his instructions. Given situations such as coming from a one-parent home, being a first generation college student or previously attending a private school, each person moved according to their personal circumstances. The activity invited discussion about diversity at La Verne and personal growth. / photo by Victoria Castaneda

Blake Humphrey
Staff Writer

Turn out was lower than hoped, and the event titled “Sexuality and Gender” part of last week’s Diversity Week, was changed.

Yet those who participated agreed that the event was interesting and impactful.

Instead of the planned activity, the group of students participated in a game similar to “Red Light Green Light.”

The participants were separated and asked to stand in different areas based on certain physical and cultural characteristics. This showed the diversity of each individual, as well as the connection all of the students had to one another.

In the game the students were asked to take steps forward or backward according to whether, for example, they came from a one-parent home, whether they were first generation college students, or whether they had attended private school.

The game then turned into a powerful discussion about diversity and differences.

“It was very beneficial, it helped represent our lifestyles and who we are,” said Firas Arodaki, senior chemistry and computer science major.

“It showed that we came from different struggles to get where we are today, and we are all different because of our upbringing and culture,” Arodaki said.

The event was coordinated by Multicultural Affairs Director Daniel Loera.

“The folks have to put into perspective their own journey,” Loera said. “We are trying to create a consciousness that having access and certain privileges creates a responsibility to open the doors for others.”

Loera and the students agreed that this event and others for Diversity Week would have benefited from better attendance.

“I would like to see a better articulation of the actual meaning and goals of the event,” said Loera added.

Loera was still extremely positive about the outcome of the event and the experience he was able to share with the students.

“The experience was no less powerful even though the group was small,” Loera said.

The students in attendance felt the same way.

“The event was great because it really taught that everyone is equal and we are all one group, in one place,” said Kenan Cha­ballout, Muslim Students Associ­ation historian and health administration graduate student.

Blake Humphrey can be reached at blake.humphrey@laverne.edu.

Students Brooke Hanson, Kenan Chaballout and Kelley Maggiulli await further instruction in a Diversity Week activity, directed by Daniel Loera. The activity invited discussion and promoted awareness of others’ differences as well as personal reflection. / photo by Victoria Castaneda

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