Diversity Council trains student senators
Matthew McKenna | Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The student Senate meeting Wednesday night focused on diversity training for the senators. The training consisted of four different presentations given by students on the Diversity Council, which represent different cultural and religious backgrounds and concluded with a presentation by student body vice president Matt Devine.
The University needs a balance of cultures on campus, Daphne Reynolds, the diversity council representative for the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND), said.
“Being mixed race in a family setting means learning how to be balanced,” Reynolds said. “You can’t choose one ethnicity over the other because this would be denying the importance of the other culture and demeaning your child in a way. Diversity is a big part of ensuring that we don’t forget who we are.”
Sophomore Muslim Student Association Representative Khaoula Morchid followed Reynolds with a presentation about religious diversity on campus and her experience as an international student.
“One of the highlights of my time at Notre Dame has been the opportunity to look at faith from a different perspective and not from a specific religion,” Morchid said. “It’s so enlightening to hear stories about countries and cultures that I wouldn’t know much about otherwise. Ask questions and explore rather than assume what someone has lived.”
Senior Veronica Guerrero, the First Class Steppers Diversity Council Representative, said students should get involved in different activities on campus that are not associated with their ethnicity.
“If your friends invite you to activities for ethnicities that you aren’t necessarily a part of, it’s because they want you to go, not because they want you to feel awkward,” Guerroro said. “Just because you’re not part of the ethnicity or religion doesn’t mean you can’t go to their events, the group wants you there.”
After sharing the story of his personal identity, Devine said a strong sense of self should encourage acceptance of others.
“Even though we comprise ourselves of different categories and we come from different dorms, quads, states, religions, that it is something that is specific to you,” Devine said. “Hopefully a self-awareness of our own identities will lead to a different type of awareness of other people and where they come from.”
Devine said he sees an occasional disparity between how his peers identify themselves and how they tend to stereotype others.
“In a way we’re all minorities because we only know our own story and a little bit of other people’s,” Devine said.