February 27-March 1 is University of Diversity Week and for lead student organizer Natasha Mahapatro it’s a great opportunity for the University of San Diego to “celebrate and appreciate” diversity within the entire campus community.
“It’s a really special week. I’m honored and blessed to have the opportunity to plan University of Diversity Week. A lot of planning has gone into it and we think it will be an enriching experience,” said Mahapatro, a sophomore International Relations major and the USD Torero Program Board’s Multicultural and Arts coordinator.
Four events will take place, beginning with tonight’s speaker, Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos cookies, in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre. This event, which begins at 7 p.m., is a School of Business Administration Passport-approved event (worth two credits). Amos’ appearance is connected both to Diversity Week as well as USD’s celebration of Black History Month.
Tickets for the Amos event are necessary and are free for undergraduate students. The cost is $10 for graduate students and $20 for faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the Hahn University Center Box Office.
Tuesday’s event, the March of the Toreros, is fast becoming a popular tradition in only its fourth year.
“The March of the Toreros stands for so much in our campus community,” Mahapatro said. “It’s exciting to get to plan an event that enables the whole campus to come together for one cause.”
The march, which begins in front of Maher Hall at 12:15 p.m., takes students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni and friends on a brisk campus walk down to the IPJ’s Garden of the Sky (front of the building). This year, the event will bring marchers right to an inaugural event, the USD Changemaker Festival. There, students can learn about student organizations and programs on campus that reflect USD’s designation as an AshokaU Changemaker Campus and, perhaps, connect with something that can feed their passion for social change. An information booth devoted to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and his April 18 visit to USD will be present as well as Fair Trade-certified food, live music and other fun events.
Wednesday’s spotlight event is Multicultural Night, courtesy of the student organizations within the United Front Multicultural Center. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. in the UC Forums with Indian food, followed at 7 p.m. by music and cultural performances by USD students.
The week closes with an event that debuted during last fall’s Hate Crimes Awareness programming. The Love Love Hate Hate campaign is a silent photographic pledge for people to stand up against hate crimes and support love over hate. It takes place Thursday, March 1 beginning at noon in front of the UC.
“When we planned Hate Crimes Awareness Week, we wanted to do something interactive, instead of a speaker or exhibit, so people could actively participate. We gave them wristbands and buttons and took their photo. We did it last semester and got 400 pledges. It was amazing to see people come out in support of this cause. We still see people wear wristbands and buttons on backpacks to continue the awareness,” Mahapatro said. “By bringing this back, it’s a great opportunity for those who missed it last semester to participate and to again acknowledge those did participate last semester.”
— Ryan T. Blystone