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September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

University hosts showcase for NIOT’s anniversary

In honor of the “Not In Our Town” movement’s one-year anniversary on Tuesday, Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate hosted this year’s first Diversity Showcase.

The Diversity Showcase featured performances by both students and faculty members and was open to the entire community. Performances ranged from musical acts to spoken word poetry and skits from University organizations.

Both USG and GSS wanted to create an all inclusive event for students to celebrate diversity, rather than focus on any negative stigma associated with it.

“So often we condemn the bad behavior, which is good, but we also need to reward the good behavior,” said Erin Baker, a GSS Student Affairs Representative. “Eventually, the more we applaud and celebrate diversity and all the good that comes with it, the negativity will stop.”

The showcase opened with a skit by The Humanities Troupe, a group of students who create performances on controversial issues such as race, sexual orientation and body image, demonstrating how different types of behavior can have an impact on people.

Audience members were able to interact with the skits as Michael Ellison, director and faculty adviser of The Humanities Troupe, encouraged viewers to yell “stop” when the behavior being performed became offensive, which sparked discussion.

Following the skits were multiple musical performances by students Eric Juzkiw, James Seliga and Chen Yang.

Sophomore Greg Harrison sang “Ordinary People” by John Legend and enjoyed other performances as well.

“I think it’s important to celebrate the launch of ‘Not In Our Town’ and to celebrate diversity in general at the University,” he said. “Events like these show people what our University has to offer and what we stand for.”

Many on-campus organizations were present at the showcase to show how their organization promotes diversity, such as the LGBT Resource Center, Veritas Catholic Christian Life Group and the Latino Student Union.

The Diversity Showcase is an event that was completely student-run, but that is one of the more admirable aspects, Baker said.

“There’s no push from any faculty or department on what direction to take; it’s all what the students want,” she said. “It just shows that without any push, even students can take a stand and show in a peaceful manner what kind of behavior is appropriate, and what isn’t.”

Baker collaborated with USG Off-Campus Senator Nic Puccio on how to go about planning such an event.

He said the Diversity Showcase is meant to bring a sense of community to the University and celebrate the many different areas of diversity in the community.

“Everyone is diverse and sometimes it takes some soul-searching to find what exact aspect of diversity you can identify with,” Puccio said.

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