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The Community of Color proved successful

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | JANUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Lured by music and the smell of food, students flocked to the Currier Hall Van Oel Multipurpose Room on Wednesday to take part in a twice-annual social event hosted by the Center for Diversity and Enrichment.

Faculty members and students sat down together and got to know each other by chatting over dinner to form a stronger sense of community among minority students.

Center interim Director Fred Mims said Community of Color is a great way for individuals to come together because it gives them a chance to meet one another.

“Oftentimes when you more or less sit down to a meal and socialize, you become very comfortable with people,” he said. “And that’s what this [event] does.”

Mims said it is important for the center to find ways to connect students coming into college because these students are not familiar with many people on campus when they first arrive. 

“In athletics, for example, they come in as a team,” he said. “As a general student, you don’t have that mechanism other than the residence hall or some other kind of committee or group that you join.”

Georgina Dodge, the UI associate vice president for the Chief Diversity Office, said Community of Color shows how it is important for different students to be able to come together as a group.

“Breaking bread together is so symbolic,” she said. “We all need to nourish ourselves, and to me, it’s the perfect metaphor … we also need to nourish our sense of community.”

Dodge said forming a community opens the doors to communications, which serves as a simple solution to many problems in the world.

“Personally, I think communication cures all evils,” she said. “If we could communicate, why would we need to have war?”

UI senior Melody Mata, who attended the event, said Community of Color lets people meet new people, which allows them to seek help from many different sources.

“In case you need help in a subject and you know other people that are majoring in math, you can get help from those people majoring in math,” she said.

Mata said when students get connected in the way they do in the Diversity Center, they have references they can come back to when they graduate.

“It’s always good to go back to the people you know that you met through this kind of stuff,” she said.

Michelle Lopez said it would have been nice if more people came to Community of Color because the University of Iowa is such a large school. There were a few dozen people in attendance.

“I just feel like this is a really, really big school, and then this is a really small setting,” she said.

Lopez said Community of Color is important because it introduces opportunities to begin networking with students and faculty.

“Knowing more people definitely makes the college experience better,” she said.


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