BY DYLAN DACOSTA
Conestoga College took a further step toward spreading diversity and acceptance by holding another Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week at the Doon campus.
The event, which ran from Feb. 25 to March 1, was the 10th edition of the week that the college hosts once each term.
The week is intended to provide students with an education on how to better support and embrace students of other cultures, as well as offering the opportunity to simply celebrate the amount of diversity at Conestoga.
Ryan Connell, the Student Life programmer at Conestoga College, takes pride in Conestoga’s efforts to spread knowledge and acceptance of diversity, but knows that there is still work to be done.
“Conestoga certainly has made great strides in the past several years to provide education on diversity,” he said, attributing that to not only Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week, but also to the Respect campaign and the Professional Development department.
“I feel we still have more work to do in building more infrastructure for supporting the amount of diversity we are seeing on our campuses,” Connell said. “But I also know right now that I can feel proud about what Conestoga is already doing.”
Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week has been around since the Student Life department first organized it in the fall of 2008, and the week has helped create a community that is more respectful, welcoming and inclusive.
“It’s a chance to build a stronger sense of belonging for all members of our college community, but also it gives an opportunity to students who have not considered diversity in this lens,” said Connell. “When students graduate and find a career, they will undoubtedly be interacting with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds, and it’s important that they are prepared to understand the uniqueness of all individuals.”
The week usually consists of booths and displays set up by students of programs who have an aspect of cultural diversity who can take what they are learning in their course and then apply it to try and help promote and celebrate diversity.
Conestoga student Kyle Schattner, while not involved in this semester’s diversity week, took part last year when he helped his classmate and friend Ahmed Saleh showcase Saudi Arabian culture.
“By taking part in the week, I learned a lot about Saudi Arabia through the work we did and also my classmate’s experiences because of his Saudi Arabian background,” said Schattner. “It’s an important week because it gives you the opportunity to view things from other perspectives.”
Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week was successful this semester, and Connell was quick to praise the efforts of everybody involved.
“I really commend the campus service areas who host displays and activities for being so involved in making the week such a success.”