Coffee and Culture, a diversity series hosted by the Student Involvement and Employment Office, attracts hundreds of students annually for discussions about various topics.
The series’ first event is Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. in the DUC Laird Room.
Ron Strege, director of Diversity and College Access, will be speaking at the first program, Diversity Debunked. It will be an open discussion about race, ethnicity and gender issues, and Strege hopes students who attend the program will leave with a better understanding of others and themselves.
“I want students to understand that every single person comes to the table with a story. We all have something that defines us. Not everyone is defined by their religion. Not everyone is defined by their ethnicity. Not everyone is defined by their sexual orientation,” Strege said.
Mariah Pfundheller, student leadership and marketing coordinator for the SIEO, said the program provides a safe place for students, faculty and staff to share their beliefs and stories about culture, race, ethnicities and other diversity-related issues.
Throughout the fall semester, faculty, staff, various organizations and students will present for the series, which includes topics like atheism, Hmong-Americans and disabilities. The speakers range from the UWSP Student Secular Alliance to The Veteran’s Club.
Elizabeth Gillmore, greek life and leadership coordinator for SIEO, believes the positive feedback and support from students and faculty is the most rewarding aspect of the program.
“Students learn about biases that they never knew they had. They feel more welcome as a member of our community on campus. They have their eyes opened to things that they just never knew about,” Gillmore said.
Registration for Coffee and Culture programs is available on the SIEO website.