Southern highlights differences

Savanah Manderville, Web Editor

April 8-12 will be the Second Annual Diversity Week at Missouri Southern.  Numerous departments, organizations and committees on campus have come together to host events to educate students about cultures they might not be aware of.

“Last year, the Diversity Committee wanted to do more reaching out to the campus, so we came up with several ideas, and one of those was Diversity Week,” said Malorie Cashel, director of student activities.  

She said that although Diversity Week began as an initiative of the diversity committee, the wellness department, the resource center, international studies, the advising, counseling, and testing office, the Spanish department, and more are involved.  

Monday will kick off Diversity Week with a lecture in Phelps Theater (in the Billingsly Student Center) called “Women in Jazz” from Galen Abdur of Flute Juice Productions.  

Flute Juice Productions is a musical entertainment company based in Orlando, Fla.  Abdur has a master’s degree in fine arts and education.  His background includes work as an arranger, composer, director, educator, writer and master flute player.  His lectures and jazz performances have made him popular on college and university campuses.

That evening, from 7 to 8:30, Abdur will host a lecture on the history of jazz and play live music in Corely Auditorium (Webster Hall).  Students will learn the five pillars of jazz:  melody, harmony, rhythm, syncopation and improvisation.

On Tuesday, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) will sponsor free henna tattoos in the Lion’s Den from 10 am to 2 pm.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Father Moses Barry’s family history expo will be held in Phelps Theater.  The lecture is titled Honoring our Shared Heritage: Afro-Americans in the Ozarks.

“Father Moses lives here in Joplin,” said Cashel. “His family was part of the slave trade, and so he’s going to be bringing in things and talking about what life was like for them.”  

That afternoon at 1, a documentary featuring Father Moses Barry will be shown in Phelps Theater.  The documentary has been featured on the National Geographic channel, said Cashel.

Wednesday continues Diversity Week with a “Make-and-Take Stained Glass” activity sponsored by the wellness department.

 This event is part of the Wellness Wednesday series, and will take place during the usual time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lion’s Den.

At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, students can learn to salsa dance with Judy Schneider, a kinesiology instructor, in the Beimdieck Recreation Center.  

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Cashel.  “You don’t have to have a partner to come. Anybody can do it.”

On Thursday, the International Club will hold an exposition in the Lion’s Den where students from all over the world will have displays set up about their cultures.  The expo will be held from 9 am to 1 p.m..

Also on Thursday, the wellness department is sponsoring a showing of the film Lincoln in Phelps Theater at 2:30 and at 5.  Popcorn and drinks will be provided by the department.

Friday will round out Diversity Week with the “Exploring Religions Panel” with Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Catholic and Jewish panelists.  

“They have presented at the diversity lunches throughout the year, and they’re going to come back all together,” said Cashel.  “We’re excited because they’re going to give their perspectives of religions, and kind of how one might intertwine with the other, or how one might think this of another.  They will all be there to answer questions.”

A lunch will be served during this event.  Anyone is welcome to come, said Cashel, but only people who RSVP will receive a lunch.

She said that many changes have been made to this year’s Diversity Week.

“Last year we had a heavy amount of programming … we wanted to make it huge and we didn’t get out of it what we were hoping,” said Cashel.

“We did have a lot of students who were interested, and the students who did come loved it, but this year we scaled back a little bit.”

“We’re doing more stuff during the day, more stuff that’s out and about that you can see as you’re walking around, and hopefully this year, they’ll be able to get more of a taste of it,” she said.