On the sunny evening of Friday, Aug 24, DSU students, faculty, and staff gathered for a kick start to the year for some of the diversity clubs across campus.
The AAUW (American Association of University Women), the Alliance (Gender and Sexuality Alliance), International Programs, and the Native American Student Association hosted chit-chat and refreshments outside the Karl E. Mundt Library to encourage connection between their clubs and to introduce themselves to the new students on campus.
Each of the diversity clubs on campus allows a space for students to find common grounds, build relationships, and get acquainted with one another.
The Alliance hosts activities throughout the year, such as the Rainbow Welcome at the beginning of the school year and a drag show in the spring semester. As stated by Marissa Guillory, the president of the Alliance, “We work really hard to give LGBTQ a place to feel included and have fun”.
The other clubs and organizations have similar missions, including International Programs. “(International Club) is a great way to intermix cultures and see how diverse the world is, but also how much we have in common,” DSU sophomore Caleb Dykstra points out. It is his second year as a member of DSU’s International Club, and, although he is a domestic student, he sees the value in plugging into a club that serves to promote sharing and learning about the beautiful variety of cultures and peoples. John Fosu, a graduate student from Ghana, shared that International Programs has helped him connect to a lot of different people. He notes that it inspires open-mindedness and helps facilitate socialization among students. Additionally, he mentions that “You get to learn from other members, especially people who have been here a lot longer. You get lots of tips and tricks!” International programs don’t just bring students in from other places; DSU also sends students abroad through exchange and faculty-led programs. It provides great opportunities for both international and domestic students to embrace life from a new perspective.
The AAUW supports DSU’s campus in a similar way. Nelofar Sultan, a co-chair of the AAUW, confirms that “the
purpose of the AAUW is to encourage students and bring awareness to the problems of DSU students, specifically female DSU students”. Although the word “Women” in AAUW’s title might imply that the club is exclusively for women, the club exists to show support for both men and women of DSU, and everyone is welcome.
Likewise, The Native American Student Association seeks to provide an inclusive space for Native students to simply talk; they also hope to host cultural events on campus throughout the year. Native American Student Association already accommodates the DSU Dakota 38+2 riders that come through Madison every year; last year, they were proudly able to serve the riders with food made from ingredients original to North America. Carl Petersen, the club’s president, wants everyone to at least know that the club exists and is there to support Native students at any point in their DSU journey.
The Mingle and Schmooze brought together all of these diversity groups in a way that allowed them to interact with and learn about one another. In the case of AAUW, Sultan said, “(The Mingle and Schmooze) shows AAUW’s presence on campus, and allows the AAUW to get to know other clubs and new students.” Each club and organization in attendance could testify the same outcome of the event. DSU’s campus blossoms with unique persons and groups and everyone involved with DSU could benefit from embracing its diversity.