Nov. 29, 2011
For Immediate release
For more information, contact Kim Weismann at 774-4203
WSC working to embrace diversity of changing community
WILLISTON, N.D. - With the influx of people to the area, the word "diversity" has taken on new meaning for many. At Williston State College, a committee and a club have been formed to help embrace the diversity of our changing population, especially on-campus, but throughout the community as well.
According to WSC Communication Instructor and Diversity Committee Chair Kim Weismann, the North Dakota University System has been pushing for an initiative to get the committee up and running. "We had the committee in place last year and this year we're really trying to take a stance and be more visible on campus," she said. "With the community changing as it is, we are striving to embrace diversity rather than ignore it."
The committee has been busy with various events throughout the semester, including a movie night in September that featured Mexican culture.
"We had a Taste of Cultures event on Halloween," Weismann said. "The faculty, staff and students all had the opportunity to have a table with cultural artifacts or foods. We had artifacts from Africa, China, Japan, and more. And we had lots of food choices - our Japanese students made a curry and rice dish, we had Swiss fondue, knoefla soup, borscht soup, and of course, lefse. We had a really great variety of foods to try."
November is Native American Heritage Month and classes at WSC did presentations on various Native American tribes and on the 29th, they had a special treat of a Native American delicacy.
"We had the delicacy available for students, faculty and staff to try, but we didn't tell them what it was," Weismann laughed. "They had to guess what they were eating - not many of them guessed they were eating buffalo tongue!"
Plans for future events include a cultural dance night. "We're hoping to be able to have students who have come to us from other countries to work in the community show us some traditional dances from their cultures. We have students from Latin America who could do Salsa dances, and we have students from Africa here and hopefully they'll be able to perform a tribal or ethnic dance for us."
She said that a map will soon be put up in the hallway between the Teton Lounge and cafeteria showing where the students who attend WSC come from around the world.
"We are also putting diversity into our curriculum," she said. "All programs will soon have a diversity component to them. It's very much a work in progress, but that's where we're at right now."
The college has long supported helping the students, as well as members of the community, experience other cultures.
"We have a trip to Norway coming up in March of 2013," Weismann said. "We are trying to do a trip every two years, giving our students the opportunity to not only learn about the culture in the classroom, but also to experience it and be immersed in it."
Trips in past years have been taken to Mexico, China, Scotland and Ireland.
For more information on the diversity programs, or the trip to Norway, contact Weismann at 774-4503.