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Student Diversity Board hosts Mosaic Dinner

| Thursday, October 25, 2018

In assembling individual small pieces of brightly-colored glass, stones, shells, beads and ceramic tiles, an artist creates a mosaic, or a beautiful image that can only be appreciated once all the materials are glued together.  On Wednesday, the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board brought individuals from the campus community together in a similar fashion, through its annual Mosaic Dinner. This dinner allows participants to join a conversation about and celebration of diversity and inclusion on the college campus.

Junior Jazmin Herrera, the vice president of Student Diversity Board, said this event encapsulates the board’s mission to promote diversity and educate others about inclusive practices. The definition of diversity is multifaceted and always changing, Herrera said, and the Mosaic dinner gives the Saint Mary’s community an opportunity to explore race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other identifiers that make the college a more diverse place.

“I think it’s really important for students to come just so they know who their allies are and also to know that they fit into this definition and that they contribute to the celebration and education on campus,” Herrera said.

Junior Guadalupe Gonzalez, vice president of strategic affairs, said the dinner unites the Saint Mary’s community by giving voice to diverse individuals, and allowing participants to recognize the beauty in shared and unique differences.

“Even the name itself, Mosaic, it’s an artwork,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a coming together in a collage of different people, different pieces, different stories, different lived experiences. … This is why [the Mosaic dinner] is really important, because that’s the main goal … and you don’t see any other event like that.”

In past years, the Mosaic dinner has instead been held as a casual mixer including crafts and games, Herrera said.

“This year, we decided to host a dinner because it’s more intimate,” she said. “Basically, it’s just an opportunity for faculty, students and different student leaders of clubs that celebrate and promote diversity and inclusivity on campus to mingle and get to know each other.”

Gonzalez said the board made the decision to reintroduce Mosaic dinners because of the previous lack of response from the student body.

“What we’re trying to do is go back to the roots of it, back to making it into a dinner, making it … more important and less casual. Good food, good people, good discussions,” Gonzalez said. “Our mission with this dinner is just to truly bring awareness and help people connect with others. It’s like a networking event where we all know what we’re here for, and we’re trying to become advocates for all.”

This year, Mary Burke, the chair of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, presented a keynote address explaining how the new administration under Interim President Nancy Nekvasil will further promote the mission of Student Diversity Board.

Before the dinner, Herrera said she hoped the address would help students become more familiar with Burke and her role at Saint Mary’s.

“She will be speaking on how diversity and inclusion fit into the board’s priorities and also on how she is an ally on campus,” Herrera said.

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