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OPEN to focus on diversity

BY ABIGAIL MEIER | APRIL 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The OPEN Party members say they hope to achieve greater diversity and connectivity among University of Iowa students on a domestic and international level.

As the single party running in the UI Student Government election, OPEN aims to create a level of diversity in which both domestic and international students can work together to gain success for the future regardless of racial or cultural differences.

“In my opinion, diversity means people from different backgrounds can work together and respect each other regardless of their skin colors, accents, or other aspects of their identities,” said UISG diversity liaison Will Cai.

Cai said party members hope to implement an increase in diversity on campus through collaborations between student organizations, address adjustment issues for international students, and use a recently introduced program called Get to Know Us.

With a large focus on international students, Cai said another idea is to create an information book of Iowa City apartments for international, domestic, and prospective students.  He said the booklet would include popular apartment names, price ranges, locations, and contact information for landlords.

“I believe this tool will reduce the struggle that international students have when they are about to move out from dorms to apartments at the end of their freshman year,” Cai said. 

Vice-presidential candidate Jeffrey Ding said diversity is be a topic that should always be addressed on campus, and he believes through these efforts, the ticket can increase the connectivity on campus. 

“Diversity is important to focus on all the time,” he said. “It helps students recognize their own privileges, become more aware of different viewpoints, and build relationships with those they would never have even taken the time to meet otherwise.”

Cai, who started the initiative, said the Get to Know Us programs are designed to create more interactions between a multicultural student organization and fraternity and sorority life.

Cai said this spring created relationships with Phi Delta Theta & Chinese in Iowa City, Chi Omega and Malaysian Student Society, and Delta Upsilon and Korean Undergraduate Student Association. Each pair is required to plan three events together: a multicultural event, a service event, and a social event.

Georgina Dodge, the UI chief diversity officer and associate vice president, said the Get to Know Us program is crucial to the success and well being of our domestic and international students at the UI.

“I constantly reiterate that you cannot have excellence without diversity,” she said. “In order to achieve academic excellence, you must be introduced to our global diversity.”


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