Diversity Conference ’17

BY NEWS 4’s:  Kayla Green  @kaylagreen04

The College at Brockport’s 17th Annual Diversity Conference was held on October 5, and it was another huge success. This year’s theme was Intersectionality in Justice and Equity.

Freshman Lizabeth Cruz heard great things about the conference from her peers, and it lived up to her expectations.

“We saw it was gonna be a big deal, and it was,” Cruz said.

“I saw many different dances that I wouldn’t have seen before, I saw different foods that I wouldn’t have seen before, so it’s like Brockport had a little culture. It’s like you got a little part of the world today.”

Senior Brockport student and presenter at the conference, Melissa Szurgyi, considers the event to be extremely important to the campus community.

“This day is really important because it actually gives a set amount of time to shine a light on diversity, I would say, and inclusion and equity which are not topics that we always have enough time to talk about,” she said.

“So the Diversity Conference gives us enough time to have conversations about different aspects of diversity.”

The event kicked off in the morning with keynote speaker Sister Grace Miller, who is the founder of the House of Mercy in Rochester. The House of Mercy works to serve the homeless and hungry on the street of the city of Rochester. The shelter opened in 1985, and celebrated its 32 year anniversary this year. Miller’s speech hit home for Brockport student Victoria Bowman, who has been personally impacted by her work.

“I know firsthand the help that she has made in the community, Sister Grace Miller. She’s personally helped someone in my family and I’ve done assignments and had to be in her office and in her agency and work with the people that she’s serving and it turned out to be really wonderful,” said Bowman.

When asked why work like this is so important to highlight during a time of divide in our country, Bowman had a passionate answer.

“Cause we need more love, we need to show more kindness, more togetherness, and more diversity. You know, she doesn’t discriminate on who she helps. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, White, Puerto Rican, it doesn’t matter she helps everybody. And that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what we’ve been called to do.”

Another highlight of the event is the multicultural food tasting, which features dishes from many different cultures that students, faculty, and staff can sample for free. Some cultures that were featured included Africa, Asia and Europe.

Many students use Diversity Day as a chance to get to know more about their peers.

“Everyone has their own different background, whether that be sexual orientation, gender, race, culture; people come from a lot of different places so it’s about learning who your peers are and how we can all be a better community member,” said Brockport Student Government Vice President Josh Mathews.

“I think it helps people to be better community members because if you know where somebody comes from then you can be a better friend, you can be more culturally sensitive at times.”

Cruz also had a strong opinion on the subject.

“I’m gonna be very honest, usually when you go to colleges it’s mostly white, so like you don’t see a lot of cultures but then when you see diversity, you get to know everybody’s culture and you see things you’ve never seen before.”

Diversity Day is a great chance for all types of people on campus to come together and embrace their cultures and differences. It is no surprise that this year’s conference was another flourishing success.


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