Students filed into the Legacy Room of the Dreyfus University Center on Sept. 9 for free coffee and the chance to listen to Ron Strege, director of diversity and college access, at the first Coffee and Culture event of the semester.
Ron Strege captivated students by informing them of common misconceptions about diversity. Strege discussed the myth of “them” versus “us.” He explained that some people do not realize at one point or another, everyone has been
Strege asked audience members to name words that describe the people who are classified as “them.” The audience came up with a long list. At the end of this activity, he asked if there was at least one word on the list that described audience members.
Hands went up all over the room.
Some students enjoyed discussing diversity over coffee in a relaxed environment.
“I enjoyed Strege’s enthusiasm for the subject and how open-minded he is,” said Victoria Nellessen, a junior wildlife ecology major. She also enjoyed hearing what Strege had to say concerning the concept of “them.”
“I agreed with what he had to say about personal identity and how everyone is ‘them,’” Nellessen said. “Them’ is us.”
Throughout Strege’s presentation, the audience interacted with each other. For one activity, everyone was told to talk to at least 10 people in the room and discuss one similarity and difference they had. This activity helped everyone realize it is not hard to find at least one thing in common with a stranger.
Cassie Silvernale, a junior political science and international studies major, attended Strege’s presentation because of her interest in diversity.
“I think Strege did a good job at presenting the issues clearly instead of dancing around them,” Silvernale said.
She also said Strege remained organized throughout his presentation when discussing each diversity myth.
Strege is optimistic about the way students and faculty view and treat each other on campus.
“I am a firm believer that racists are the minority on campus,” Strege said. “I believe that there is a core group of faculty and students who want to make this a better place.”