‘Say What?’ Diversity Diplomats Hosts Snacks and Chats

Photo by Drue Watkins

Drue Watkins
Managing Editor

From 4 – 5 p.m. on Nov. 7, the Diversity Diplomats held their fourth Snacks and Chats event of the semester in the Buddy Green Room at the McMahon Centennial Complex.

The Diversity Diplomats are a student group who emphasize creating a diverse atmosphere at Cameron University by prioritizing the inclusion of all students regardless of gender, age, field of study or ethnic background.

The Snacks and Chats events allow members of the organization a chance to openly share thoughts and opinions on current day problems facing students from an assortment of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This specific event, titled “Say What?” focused on a round-table discussion about dialects, languages and cultural barriers that are faced every day, all while enjoying an array of refreshments that included water, soda and chips.

Diversity Diplomats adviser Olivia Polynice said students who are not part of the organization are still welcome to attend these events and strike up a conversation in a safe, secure environment that encourages civilized, back-and-forth dialogue.

She also said it is important for students to get involved on campus with these discussions.

“These are vital events that highlight the strengths of being human,” she said. “We are diverse just by nature of being people, but being inclusive means understanding the people who we work with.”

As the organization’s adviser, Polynice said she is actively involved with the inner-workings of the Snacks and Chats events.

“It’s always fun setting these things up,” she said, “because I just help direct those who are under me—I let the students really take charge. It’s great seeing the students be so involved and active; seeing their passions break through.”

She also said the idea is to give these students a safe place to sit down and discuss these sometimes uncomfortable subjects with a welcoming, understanding group of attendees.

“These are big topics with lots of emotions,” she said, “and we love having people open up, as that creates more understanding.

“We sometimes have people come here, listen to what others have to say, and go ‘Oh, wow, I thought I was the only person who thought that way’ or ‘I didn’t realize that was such a problem, so maybe I should be more aware of what’s going on in my community or on my campus.’

“There’s just something so special about sharing hardship.”

The open-ended discussions went around each table, where attendees were free to raise their hand, speak about their experiences and gain input from others.

Polynice said her favorite part of the Snacks and Chats event is the realization that people really aren’t that different from one another.

“We are all just human at the end of the day,” she said. “I love that ‘Aha!’ moment students have when they begin to view others in a different light, or realize that there are things they just didn’t understand beforehand—such as another students’ feelings.

“Most people don’t consider these things to be super important, but when they see and experience firsthand some of the rougher-portions of life that people go through, it makes all the difference.”

For more information on the next Snacks and Chats event, contact the Student Services office at studentservices@cameron.edu

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