Monday, February 1, 2010

Diversity and inclusion take center stage

Our campus celebration of Black History Month began last week, highlighted by numerous activities and events our students and community neighbors can enjoy. Bloomsburg University recognizes the importance of campus diversity and embraces inclusion throughout the year but celebrating Black History Month enables us to shine our spotlight a bit more brightly on the contributions of African-American culture on campus and in our community.

The celebration began on Jan. 28 by bringing Dr. Ronald Walters, an eminent scholar of African-American politics and noted political analyst, to campus. His evening lecture, “The King Legacy and the Obama Presidency,” was a well attended analysis and discussion of the first year of the Obama presidency and his first state-of-the-union address.

Our celebration continues on Friday, Feb. 5, when the renowned Harlem Gospel Choir will perform in the Kenneth S. Gross Auditorium, Carver Hall. The choir, which has performed worldwide, promises to bring a special style of gospel to our campus, one deeply rooted in New York City heritage. My wife, Robbie, and I are looking forward to a dynamic, inspirational performance, beginning that night at 6:30.

A week later, we will host students from several PASSHE schools and many BU alumni for the 16th annual Sankofa Conference. “Sankofa,” an Akan word meaning “We must go back and reclaim our past, so we can move forward,” provides the fundamental theme of this interactive conference. Several BU alumni will lead workshops on Saturday, Feb. 13, covering topics such as getting into graduate school and being a mentor. Our students will also be networking with diversity leaders and students from our sister institutions, such as West Chester and Lock Haven universities.

After the conference, the focus of our celebration returns to our campus community for African Heritage Week from Feb. 22 to 25 with festivities coordinated by a student organization, the Black Cultural Society. Planned activities include the Harlem Renaissance, a night when we’ll enjoy a variety of performances, from poetry readings to dance routines and songs, all celebrating the rich heritage of Harlem.

This month’s events are a wonderful opportunity for our campus community to further embrace diversity and grow a deeper appreciation of the contribution each person makes to our learning environment.

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