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Student Diversity Board promotes diversity through annual Mosaic event

| Thursday, September 12, 2019

On Wednesday, the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board (SDB) hosted its annual Mosaic event from 5 to 6 p.m. in Rice Commons of the College’s student center. Senior Jazmin Herrera, who is the president of the board, said the group aims to promote tolerance at the College.

“The Mosaic is an important kick-off event for [Student Diversity Board] because of the message it shares. Diversity is like a mosaic; everyone is a unique piece that co-exists together to create a harmonious image,” she said. “In order to co-exist together, we must support each other regardless of our differences.”

Herrera said the Diversity Board has been preparing for the event since last semester.

“[We have] been planning the Mosaic event since last spring,” she said. “We chose to have to the Mosaic at the beginning of the year so our first years are introduced to allies on campus right away.”

Mackenzie Kersten, a junior and secretary of the Residence Hall Association, said the event offers an opportunity to create an atmosphere of inclusion.

“What I think is super interesting about the Mosaic event is that it’s students, faculty as well as board members of all these different associations and organizations so it’s a great way to start conversation about how it’s so important here at Saint Mary’s for everyone to feel included and to have diverse organizations and opportunities,” she said.

Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil said she hopes students can learn from each other’s experiences.

“My hope is that more and more we all see each other just as human beings and that we treat each other in the right way as human beings,” she said. “That we don’t negate our personal experiences because that’s what makes us who we are, but that we are willing to be in dialogue with others who have different experiences and we want to find out about them.”

Kersten said she hopes students use the event to start building a support system.

“I hope attendees learn that SDB is an ally and that we are here to serve our community in whatever they need,” she said. “I hope students network with at least one person whom they feel they can count on here at SMC. I think the greatest outcome would be for all of the Saint Mary’s students to feel like they have a voice as well as feeling comfortable with joining all the different clubs on campus and just feeling welcomed.”

Iman Omar, a junior and member of the Better Together club, said she attended the event to help develop a sense of community.

“I’m representing the Better Together club, which is basically an interfaith club where we bring together people of different worldviews and belief systems,” she said. “And I think that this event is really great to connect with people that have a common goal on this campus. We’re here to establish community because there aren’t that many opportunities on this campus, or in the tri-campus community.”

Nekvasil said she hopes attendees learn to appreciate their fellow Belles.

“For me, this event means progress toward inclusion, And that’s a big thing for me, thinking about inclusion across campus,” she said. “That starts with just gratitude for people and for who they are, where they are, what they do, and just thinking about people as human beings.”

Nekvasil also expressed a hope that all students will feel welcome at the College.

“[I] want all students to know that they’re welcome no matter who they are, no matter their faith tradition, no matter their sexual orientation, no matter their ethnicity. I want them to feel welcome here and I want them to feel like their potential for growing and developing here is the same as every other student,” she said.

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