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Diversity Fellowship Breaking Down Walls

BY AISLINN FALLON

The Diversity Fellowship is an organization that is dedicated to representing diversity for UT.  The Diversity Fellowship holds events that raise awareness for a multitude of issues that our campus and society face. 

The student director of diversity and inclusion is Caroline Stadler, a senior public health major. In the diversity fellowship, she’s motivated to make the necessary changes to be there for others, hear them and advocate for them on campus.

“Knowing how it feels to be ignored and belittled, I don’t want anyone to feel that way. I want them to know that at least one person is listening or there for them,” Stadler said. “I desire to make the changes because I care about the impact[the changes] make.”

Regardless of the amount of events Diversity Fellowship currently puts on, they are working on adding even more events in the future. The fellowship is working to have a talk about ability on campus, a Religion Panel, and an additional guest speaker to talk about race aside from the one from the Black History Month Luncheon.

The Diversity Fellowship’s annual Black History Month Luncheon educates students and faculty about the struggles of the African American community. The Diversity Fellowship also hosts an annual diversity week dedicated to showcasing different cultures.The week ends with the Wall of Oppression.  During the Wall of Oppression students paint a brick using a word that has oppressed them, the bricks are then all put together to create the wall.  The wall is then torn down at the end of the week to symbolize the end of the cycle of oppression. This year’s diversity week will take place from April 9 to 13.

Last semester, the Diversity Fellowship put on an event: A Taste of Culture.  This event was meant to showcase the different cultures that are represented on campus through food, music and henna art.

Stephanie Russell Krebs, dean of students, was the director of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (OSLE) when the office started the Diversity Fellowship 13 years ago.  She began the fellowship due to the amount of diversity on campus that to her, as well as many students, was not being appreciated enough.  

Taylor Collignon, a freshman Biochemistry major, says “diversity is certainly present on campus.  It’s not out of the blue when you meet someone from New Zealand or Kenya at UT and hear multiple languages spoken as you walk to class.  This campus does a great job of representing the diverse cultures through media, organizations, and art from what i’ve seen.”

The other student coordinator is Blaise Guerriero, a biology major with a Biology/Business concentration, and a double minor in Environmental Science and Chemistry. “The faculty and staff are pretty accepting as well as some of the students, but many are close-minded,” Guerriero said. “I want  a campus culture to have dialogues that are deep and that people can learn from.”

You can contact Aislinn at aislinn.fallon@theminaretonline.com

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