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SMC Student Diversity Board helps awareness

Mary Conroy | Sunday, December 11, 2005

Continuing its sixth year with the Student Government Association, the Student Diversity Board (SDB) works to raise awareness and respect for diversity at Saint Mary’s.

“The Student Diversity Board was initiated because many students on campus voiced the concern that the needs of some of the underrepresented constituencies of the College were not being met,” said Terri Johnson, director of Multicultural Affairs. “Those underrepresented groups included non-traditional students, historically underrepresented populations, women with different religious backgrounds, sexual orientation and with disabilities.”

SDB member Sarita Fritzler said the Board focuses on promoting religious and sexual diversity.

“We have events to get students to be more aware of diverse issues on our campus and worldwide,” Fritzler said. “The goal of our Board this year is not only to increase awareness of diversity, but also reception of it.”

The SDB started off the year with a successful bonfire, where many students gathered to welcome and celebrate the diverse groups present on campus. Several groups displayed a variety of ethnic performances, including Irish Dance and Salsa Dance. The SDB also offered many different ethnic foods for its guests,

One of the group’s most successful events began this fall and will continue next semester. A series of S.I.S.T.A.H. Talks, led by members of the Board, have drawn a large crowd of students.

“Our most successful event this year so far was the first of our S.I.S.T.A.H. Talks,” Fritzler said. “This one discussed how you approach those different from you. It was this event that has been the most successful in terms of increasing awareness.”

Board members said they were satisfied with their successes so far and hope to continue to reach their goals.

“The diversity conversations on campus have definitely deepened because of the Student Diversity Board,” Johnson said. “The Diversity Forums have strengthened the dialogue for students, faculty and staff inside and outside of the classroom.”