The Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity hosted the first event of its new, monthly series “Wings and Hot Topics” Oct. 23.
This new program gives students a place to candidly discuss topics like sexism, religion, stereotypes and racism.
“(Wings and Hot Topics is) a monthly dialogue program where we will discuss hot topics as it relates to inclusivity,” said ODIE Director Joan Williams.
Students are encouraged to discuss their opinions among others. The goal is to create a place for open communication and learning different perspectives.
“We like to say it is dialogue and not a debate which are very different,” Williams said.
Williams said dialogue is seeking understanding, helping people to understand different perspectives and appreciate those perspectives.
The leaders of this dialogue are the Diversity Student Ambassadors. The DSA Program is designed to create opportunities for students to actively engage in activities to advance diversity and inclusion at UNA.
Last year, DSA launched a new, interactive program to further educate students about diversity.
Williams added as of this year, over 800 students have been trained and 99 percent of these students recommend all students receive this training.
“I feel like we are speaking on things that are broadcasted to today’s society, but most of the time it gets overlooked,” said DSA President Davia Young. “It is for this reason DSA ambassadors changed the name of their training to ‘Diversity 101: More than Black and White’ to show diversity’s many sides.”
DSA ambassadors do more than just host trainings. They also travel to multicultural leadership conferences, create new diversity inclusion programing to engage students and lead dialogues across UNA.
“I love the forums and symposiums that we do on diversity and inclusion,” said DSA Ambassador Taj Tiggs. “I think education of those two topics is very necessary, especially on this campus.”
Wings and Hot Topics also gives students the opportunity to discuss cultural appropriation.
“It’s mainly my scholarship requirement that drew me (to Wings and Hot Topics). I notice these events have a lot to offer, so I think by having to do that you are forced to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things,” said senior Patrick Callaway.
For more information about training and upcoming events, follow ODIE on Facebook and Instagram at DiversityUNA.