Diversity Week Centered on Multicultural Programming

Diversity Week, taking place Oct. 7-11, has become a campus tradition, according to organizer Antoinette Gomes, director of Rhode Island College’s unity center – and that’s something she couldn’t be happier about.

“That’s the thing about Diversity Week that excites me most,” Gomes said. “Over the past four years it has grown to where people are really thinking of it as a tradition. And that really, really pleases me.”

Diversity Week began nine years ago to develop programming that would give the Rhode Island College community the opportunity to explore cultures, disciplines and interests different from their own.

“I hope that the RIC community walks away from the week understanding that RIC is truly a very diverse environment,” Gomes said. “I also hope that they will connect to experiences and people that they might not necessarily have from the week’s programming.”

Throughout the week, the RIC community can sample a variety of lunch and dinner entrees inspired by different cultures at the Donovan Dining Center and learn about the culture that inspired the dish.

The James P. Adams Library will exhibit examples of discrimination against Italians in America in honor of Italian-American Heritage month, and there will be equality T-shirts for sale for $5 at the RIC Unity Center.

Featured events during the week include the Global Lens Film series, an interfaith forum, an authentic Indian dance, the study abroad international fair, a concert by the bands LovePower and Memory Lanes on the quad, a filming of Aaron Briggs and the HMS Gaspee and diversity week open mic night at the Student Union café.

The week concludes Friday, Oct. 11 with Outrageous Bingo at 8 p.m. in the Student Union, which is described as Bingo with a twist, including human bingo and diversity word search.

Throughout the week, the RIC community is invited to participate in open classes, including minority group relations on Oct. 7, gender and communication on Oct. 8 and multiple voices: Africa in the world on Oct. 10.

“The open classes were something that started about five years ago,” Gomes said. “I think the faculty buy-in to Diversity Week is really important, and it’s a really great opportunity for students to explore some topics and disciplines they normally wouldn’t.”

The Unity Center is Rhode Island College’s multicultural center and focuses on promoting the accessibility of educational services and excellence for all students through collaborative programming with faculty, staff and the RIC community. The center also provides diversity workshops and seminars and support for the RIC LGBTQ community.

A full schedule of Diversity Week activities is available at http://www.ric.edu/unitycenter/diversityweek.php.