It’s hard not to notice that MSU isn’t the most diverse campus in America, but the administration has been working to fix that. Notable examples from just the past few weeks include breaking ground on the new Native American Hall and hosting the 44th Annual American Indian Powoww. Following this momentum, on Wednesday, March 27, MSU held the second annual Diversity Symposium in the SUB ballrooms.
The symposium was an all-day event that provided a platform for research, original ideas, art and everything in between. It was intended to create a time and space to share ideas and promote all the wonderful knowledge and research found at MSU and in the greater Bozeman community. The demonstrations included presentations, dances and various panel sessions. Attendees were able to pick up coffee and snacks, then attend one of the many presentations that took place throughout the day. A single hour provided three different topics on minority groups at MSU, as well as a people’s choice art show, where students were encouraged to submit artwork related to diversity.
The first presentation group was the Fuerza Latinx Club at MSU. Latinx is one gender-neutral term used to describe people with Latin American heritage, culture or racial identity. There was a panel made up of club members who identified as Latinx and were looking for a family away from home. During the presentation, the club made it clear that they wanted to celebrate Latin culture with everyone, no matter what culture they themselves identify with. The presentation went on to explain some of the hardships of being Latinx on a campus where such students are in the profound minority.
The second group was called “Privilege of Mediocrity” and was presented by the Asian Pacific Islander students on campus. The presentation discussed how and why Asian Pacific Islanders immigrated to America and, more specifically, to Butte for the mining business. The students went into some of the hardships faced by minorities in Montana and challenges that their ancestors had to overcome when they first came to America.
While at times MSU is not the most diverse campus, the Diversity Symposium showed students and faculty that it is a far more varied place than you might think.