As part of the Campus Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan, a multicultural committee has formed to organize and develop multicultural celebrations and endorse inclusivity in the Texas Wesleyan community.
Angela Dampeer, associate vice president of Human Resources, led the creation of the strategic plan developed by the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes having this committee, she said, is to address the various aspects of diversity, including Wesleyan’s cultural climate.
According to the plan, emphasis will be placed on Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American History Month, Asian Pacific Island History Month, LGBT History Month, Disability Awareness Month and Veteran’s Awareness Month.
“The goal of the committee is to bring awareness to various culture groups through programming,” Dampeer said. The committee’s kick-off meeting was held Aug.31.
Dampeer said there is opportunity to expand celebrations.
“If there were other cultures that students wanted represented, we as an institution would help and support that programming to happen,” she said.
Several members of the multicultural committee will organize celebrations for each month, said Christi Tallent, human resources coordinator.
“For instance, Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up for September, so we have a chair over this month who will coordinate an event to focus on and emphasize Hispanic heritage,” Tallent said. “That will look different each month depending on what the committee decides to do.”
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the committee, Dampeer said.
“We want our students to be co-chairs of the committee, so ideally we would like to have a faculty or staff member and a student chair one of the months we have in this particular plan,” she said.
Dampeer said she hopes this committee will show students that their diverse backgrounds and values are appreciated at Texas Wesleyan.
“We live in a metropolitan city, in a culturally diverse community, so we would be remiss as a university not to put an emphasis on inclusivity here,” she said. “This is an exciting time for the campus.”
Dampeer said this committee will be beneficial for everyone in the community.
“I think it will allow students to appreciate that their cultures and other cultures are being celebrated and shared and it brings about more learning and awareness for any student, not just an international student,” she said.
In part because of the events last month in Charlottesville, Virginia, Tallent said, the committee is even more essential than before.
“It is ironic, or maybe not ironic that this was all in the works before that incident happened,” she said. “Like Angela has said many times, we don’t want to be reactive if anything were to happen so we are being proactive with all of this.”
Trezjon Cothran, senior liberal arts major and Black Student Association president, said he feels this committee will open people’s minds and make the various cultural groups on campus feel more welcomed.
“For those who may feel a certain way about people from certain backgrounds, this is a way for them to not necessarily express that,” he said. “They are going to learn that this person may not be what I see on TV or what I have been taught by my peers.”
Junior marketing major and international student Finn Le said that, considering the large number of international students on campus having a multicultural committee is necessary.
“I appreciate culture because it is what makes us diverse,” said Le, who is from Vietnam. “Exchanging culture is considered important to myself.”