Midland University Students Celebrate, Learn During Diversity and Inclusion Week
“Racial understanding is not something we find, but something that we must create. Through education, we seek to change attitudes.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
During Celebration of Diversity & Inclusion Week, Midland University students not only celebrated the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but worked to educate themselves and learn that even though they may look different from each other, or come from different backgrounds, everyone can work together toward a common goal.
Classes were not held on MLK Day on January 17th, but students were encouraged to take part in a Celebration of Diversity & Inclusion event that included a guest speaker, breakout sessions, and an opportunity for students to put their own imprint on a campus mural.
“We were excited for the turnout for the guest speaker and the breakout sessions,” Dr. Jamie Simpson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, said. “Students were engaged and excited about the topics they were discussing.”
Harkera Hardy, a 2015 Midland graduate and founder of #notyouraveragesuccesstory, talked to students about creating their own success stories and working to overcome challenges along the way.
Breakout sessions included MLK specific topics, as well as students watching videos or engaging in diverse conversations highlighting a variety of topics. Each session offered students a different interactive moment. A mural on the wall near Hopkins Arena allowed students to put their thumbprint, literally, on a colorful expression of working together. “I think the mural represented our goal for the week which was for all individuals to realize that though each of us may be different, we can come together and create something beautiful,” Simpson said.
Various student organizations, including Black Student Union, Hispanic Student Union, PRISM, and Global Warriors, put their imprint on the week of celebration. Each organization was given a different day to promote their group through movies, food, and games. “They were excited to share more about their organizations and planned something unique to celebrate,” Simpson said. “It was a great opportunity to highlight these student groups. It gives our students a chance to learn about other people on campus and the different strengths each of these groups bring.”
Simpson was pleased to see students taking initiative in planning events for their organizations. “The week was very student-driven,” she said. “They were part of the planning committee and came up with the ideas, and we provided the support. I love it when students have opportunities to take on those leadership roles.”