Diversity Council Encourages Unity on Campus

Author: Jeremy Dela Cruz

The Diversity Council 2013-2014

Reflecting on the Nanovic Institute of European Studies’ symposium in Rome last month regarding civic education, Assistant Director Anthony Monta mused on the hallowed history of Notre Dame’s commitment to social engagement.

“Fr. Sorin envisioned a university that would be a 'powerful force for good in the world,' which means that the University is assumed to be active outside its own walls,” Monta said.

Over the years, the Notre Dame Family has expanded across international borders, becoming a global community of scholars. The Diversity Council (DC) was formed to address issues of inclusion and collaboration at the University as a means of celebrating differences on campus. Sponsored by Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), the academic assembly is composed of representatives from various cultural clubs like the Asian American Association and Black Cultural Arts Council. My senior year marks my second year participating in DC on behalf of the Filipino American Student Organization.

The Diversity Council’s main objective is to provide a platform for historically underrepresented minorities to express their concerns and ideas. In the past, we have organized the MSPS Picnic and supported initiatives like “Show Some Skin,” which explores identity and race through the performing arts. We have provided input regarding faculty sensitivity training and recently passed a resolution leading to the provision of Halal food for Muslim students in the dining halls.

Curran Cross, a junior majoring in history, understands the importance of cooperating with other University organizations to improve the lives of students in general.
“We help work with the administration to create and institute policies that are beneficial to people of underrepresented backgrounds,” Cross said. “We are, after a fashion, a link between the larger minority community and an administration that is really trying to meet our needs.”
Cross serves as the Multicultural Commissioner for Morrissey Manor and has a particular knack for networking.
“For me, working with DC has put me in touch with amazing people from other clubs ... I'm constantly looking for event ideas and collaboration opportunities and DC helps a lot with that."

Leadership Summit with DC representatives

MSPS helps fund activities sponsored by clubs on the Council. With meetings held every Monday, DC enables representatives to make sure that their respective groups do not schedule events like Fiestang or Latin Expressions on the same day as well as empowers them to exchange ideas for their mutual improvement. 
Senior Matthew Wong was appointed last semester to lead the council. He believes that an appreciation for diversity leads to personal growth in other areas of student life.
“My role as DC chair has actually increased my own visibility of the diversity Notre Dame has to offer,” Wong said. “It has definitely broadened my understanding of how incredibly large this world is.”
Before each academic year, DC representatives attend a leadership summit to prepare themselves for tackling social challenges by getting to know their fellow board members. The summit is an excellent way to meet rising campus leaders who are passionate for constructing positive change. If you find the idea of serving the campus community by raising awareness of the value of cultures exciting, consider being a part of DC!