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ASUA to host Diversity and Inclusion Open Night for students

Trinity+Goss+%28left%29+and+Kevyn+Butler+%28right%29%2C+co-leaders+of+Black+Student+Union%2C+lead+MSUA+protesters+by+Old+Main+on+the+UA+Mall+on+March+8.+ASUA%26nbsp%3Bwill+host+a%26nbsp%3BDiversity+and+Inclusion+Open+Night+on+Tuesday%26nbsp%3Bto+give+students+the+opportunity+to+share+their+experiences+overcoming+diversity.%26nbsp%3B
Sam Gross

Trinity Goss (left) and Kevyn Butler (right), co-leaders of Black Student Union, lead MSUA protesters by Old Main on the UA Mall on March 8. ASUA will host a Diversity and Inclusion Open Night on Tuesday to give students the opportunity to share their experiences overcoming diversity. 

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona will open the floor for all students wanting to share their experiences with the UA in a safe space during the ASUA Diversity and Inclusion Open Night.

ASUA will host its Open Night, which will be open to the entire campus community, Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Kiva room at the Student Union Memorial Center.

“It’s about giving students the opportunity to share their college experience as they have overcome adversity,” said Fernanda Bueno, senior studying speech, language and hearing sciences and ASUA diversity director.

Bueno said she and the rest of the diversity committee have been working on this event since February. The committee looked at plans for how they can provide a space for students to safely explain themselves and their experiences.

Related: Trust is biggest hang-up at first meeting of Diversity Task Force.

She said this is a chance for not only under-represented students, but the whole campus, to come and have the chance to listen, learn and understand.

“I think supporting one another, especially as college students, is important,” Bueno said. “We’re all at the phase in our lives where we are constantly learning from others.”

She added that the event will focus on individuals with invisible and visible disabilities who can share their experiences and life perspective.

“There is a lot going on campus centered around diversity issues, and I think it’s important to address those things by having people share their experiences,” Bueno said.

Erika Ackerman, a sophomore studying biomedical engineering, said she thinks that even though the campus is diverse, the university could definitely improve its diversity and awareness.

“If we’re all the same then we won’t be able to work, share and learn new things from one another,” Ackerman said. “But if we’re all from different places and experience different things, it enhances everyone’s ability to learn, collaborate and expand our horizons.”

Bueno said anyone can attend and they don’t have to have a disability or come from a diverse background because they can be there to educate themselves on how other people live. This can promote understanding of multiple life experiences, not one of which is the right or better way to live.

Ackerman said she thinks the event is a good idea because any student having problems or feeling excluded can talk in an open safe space Tuesday. This will allow everyone to work on preventing them.

“Events like these are important because they raise awareness and understanding of the diversity issues here on campus,” Ackerman said.

Bueno said she hopes students from all ethnicities come, join and just listen to their peers.

“I think if people are open it could really change their perspective about other people,” she said.

She added that she really wants to create a safe space where people can express themselves.

“We’re going to have an open dynamic discussion and I’m hoping we have some people there, but overall I want them to feel secure and that they aren’t be judged by anyone,” Bueno said.

She said the event is a step in the right direction and she hopes this can be a biannual tradition for years to come.


Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.


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