This fall, pack your lunch and head over to One Pace Plaza to enjoy a bit of discussion and camaraderie at the Office of Multicultural Affair’s (OMA’s) brown bag lunchtime series. The gatherings are part of OMA’s Courageous Conversations in Diversity series. Denise Belen Santiago, director of OMA, says that the lunches are a way to promote discussion and inclusion among people. “We talk about why we sometimes feel as though we have to hide parts of ourselves in order to feel accepted,” she says. The lunches will be held from 12:30 p.m.—2:00 p.m. on September 20, October 25, November 22, and December 13.
The brown bag seminars are just one in a series of events for faculty, staff, and students that OMA has lined up this fall. “We’re starting the semester with the Chalk Festival and we’re going to start up the Knitting Circle again toward the end of the month,” says Santiago, who also encourages students, staff, and faculty to participate in the 11th annual Brides March on September 26, sponsored by the New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence.
Another way that staff and faculty can get involved is through OMA’s Theater Lab, which is made up of undergraduate students who write and perform pieces centered on the issue of diversity. “We’re always looking for staff and faculty to take on some of the roles in the skits—parts like parents, professors, other adult figures. And if you’re a writer, you may want to submit a written piece—you don’t have to act,” explains Santiago. The Theater Lab works in conjunction with UNV101 and the OASIS Program for young adults on the autism spectrum.
If performance isn’t your forte, don’t worry—you can still be a part of all the great things OMA is doing on campus. “We’re in desperate need of mentors,” says Santiago about OMA’s mentoring program, which was developed to help students from historically underrepresented groups. The mentoring program, which Santiago reports has more mentees than mentors, is actively seeking faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds to be volunteer mentors for Pace students. “We don’t partner people based on race or ethnicity,” she explains, “but based on similar interests and career goals.”
And last, but certainly not least, a great way for faculty and staff to get involved in the University dialogue about diversity is to share their stories. Telling My Story: Reflections of Race, Culture, and Identity is a way for members of the Pace Community to share their experiences and background, and explain how their experiences have shaped them as individuals.