Jason Hung/ Mustang News

Complete with live music and spoken word artists, the University Union Plaza became a showcase for diversity at Cal Poly

Sixteen clubs participated in the Diversity Jam on Tuesday, May 11 to represent the underrepresented and marginalized voice of students and showcase it through artistic expression. 

According to Connections Program Coordinator Nathan Billings, the event was a way to make students aware of the extent of diversity on campus.

“Diversity Jam allowed these clubs to celebrate their cultures rather than focus on the issues that they may be facing within their cultures,” Billings said. “At Cal Poly, we normally gloss over these issues, so this was a chance for students to get exposed to different cultures and get people thinking.”

Each booth featured an interactive activity to allow students to physically understand their culture or purpose. There was a craft to create an activist at Cal Poly Queer Student Union or you could try on a hijab at the Muslim Student Association booth.

In the case of the American Indian Student Association, President Katelynn Lee created a large dreamcatcher with the question “What is your dream for the Cal Poly community?” While dreamcatchers are meant to catch all the bad dreams and the let the good ones pass through, Lee slightly adapted its meaning to make a point.

“We twisted it a little bit and we are putting all our good dreams onto the dreamcatcher and making a work of art as a community,” biological sciences Lee said. “We are incorporating a lot of different materials, which is representative of our entire campus.”

The same concept was applied at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers booth: Students provided different ideas to answer the question of “What’s the key to a united Cal Poly?”

While many included ideas such as diversity, openmindedness and understanding, some phrases took students back to the good ol’ days, computer engineering freshman Irvin Lazaro said.

“One person wrote ‘remembering kindergarten,’ which I thought was great because it just reminds us that sharing is caring,” Lazaro said. “We just wanted students to go beyond what they believe would make for a united Cal Poly and try to identify what steps they could actually take.”

Despite the easygoing atmosphere of the festival, it is important that students recognize its purpose, AISEC president Joanne Lau said.

“I think the one main thing is realizing that there are a lot of voices on campus that go unheard and that there is a lot of different ways for you to find these avenues to learn more about it,” business administration junior Lau said.

Diversity Jam was not just limited to organizations. Independent artists were welcomed as well. Graphic communication senior Alyssa Wigant created a piece with the quote, “We may not think alike, but we can love alike.”

“Just because someone is different from you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care any less about them because love should be universal,” Wigant said.

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