Printed in large letters on a board, the question “What does diversity mean to you?” drew students to Speedway Plaza to discuss the importance of representation this Monday.
The event, as part of this year’s Diversity and Inclusion mini week, was hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Agency of Student Government.
“It’s not just promoting Student Government,” said Mehraz Rahman, co-director of the agency. “It is also promoting diversity and inclusion around campus and informing people about how far we have come and how we have to go.”
The Diversity and Inclusion Agency will be hosting different events throughout this week, such as a trivia event on Wednesday called DiversiTEA, and a discussion about diversity amongst student leaders on Friday. They will also host dance performances … as well as dance performances to learn more about different cultures.
Alexis Allen, director of the agency, said the UT administration as well as its student body must continue their efforts to provide resources to students from different backgrounds.
“With inclusivity, I think it’s important UT does not use diversity as a buzzword for pictures and promotions,” said Allen, Plan II and government junior.
“Because once you get those students, how are you helping them stay, how are you helping them graduate and are you setting them up for success afterwards? That’s how you create a more inclusive campus.”
Rahman, Plan II and marketing junior, said the SG Executive Board has made many efforts toward inclusivity by reaching out to recruit students from places like the Multicultural Engagement Center and by putting on events like the First Generation Kickoff.
“They (SG) think it’s really important to have representation and inclusion in SG and all areas of campus,” Rahman said. “Not only to make it a representation of campus which it’s not, but also to make UT representative of Texas and the U.S., which it is currently not.”
Longhorn legislative aide Vinit Shah, who tabled at the event, said the University still needs to do better in terms of reaching out to minority communities.
“We could do more in increasing diversity in faculty,” biology freshman Shah said. “UT definitely has a long way to go in terms of reaching out to marginalized communities and helping them not only come here but graduate as well.”