SOS workshop teaches diversity in college

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A Secrets of Success workshop entitled “Diversity – What to Expect When You Come to College” was held on Monday, Sept. 21, from 4:40 to 5:20 p.m. in the Schwitzer Student Center, Room 010. The workshop was intended to show University of Indianapolis students that everyone is different from everyone else.

Assistant Director of Conference and Scheduling Jeffrey Barnes presented the lecture, and he started the evening by playing a video. The video began with two people standing behind an X-ray, kissing. The students could not tell who they were because they were just shown as skeletons. When the two emerged from behind the X-ray, it was revealed that they were both females. The video went on to show people of all different races, genders, religions and sexuality behind the X-ray, demonstrating that people are all the same underneath.

Barnes said that he was inspired to teach about diversity because of what he has seen around campus.

“Over the years of being on campus here, I’ve seen a lot of instances when people have been discriminated against in some way or pushed to the outside or judged unfairly,” he said. “And I just want to help people sort of see how we’re alike in those differences.”

After a short introduction, Barnes spent the rest of the lecture leading an interactive activity in which all of the students participated. He stressed that the activity was not intended to embarrass anyone, but that the students should let down their guard and, most importantly, drop their judgment.

Barnes began with simple questions, asking all of the extroverts to sit down and the introverts stay standing. He kept going through different situations, telling people whether to sit down or stand up. The situations kept getting more and more serious as the activity continued. Some included whether you have ever known someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, whether you have enough clothes to last a week, whether you have ever dated outside your race or religion and whether you have ever been discriminated against for something you could not change.

Sophomore criminal justice major Sarah Debes attended the event and enjoyed the fact that more people are accepting of the LGBTQIA community.

“My favorite part was that not as many people as I would think are against homosexuals [and] people who are transgender,” Debes said. “A lot of people were very open, and they knew a lot about it.”

Also at the event was junior history major John Peyton. He said that the activity helped him gain some additional insight about diversity.

“It [the lecture] was a unique experience,” Peyton said. “I did take something out it…. It just kind of reinforces the fact that everybody’s different. I think that was the main point of it.”

According to Barnes, for college students to learn about diversity is very important.

“[In college] you are thrown into a community that is diverse. And I think you should be able to learn to live with each other and respect each other,” Barnes said, “because you’re going to experience that even more when you leave college.”

The next SOS workshop, “Conquering the Blank Page,” will be today, Sept. 30, from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. in the Schwitzer Student Center, Room 010.

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