The vision of a single student has become an entire week set aside each semester to celebrate the many cultures and aspects of diversity on the Shippensburg University campus.
As a sophomore, Lance Hines-Butts wanted to see the SU campus community and the Shippensburg community come together to celebrate their diversity. While the very first Diversity Week was held during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Hines-Butts and Lucas Everidge worked with the SU administration, students, faculty and staff to make it happen.
Each day covered a different aspect of diversity and had expert speakers from on and off campus leading the lectures and events. Students were also included in many of the panels to share their experience with the different types of diversity on campus. The first day, Oct. 12, celebrated gender and sexuality, Oct. 13 focused on racial diversity and Oct. 14 was about ability diversity. Oct. 15 was centered on political and religious diversity and Oct. 16 celebrated ethnic diversity.
Saturday concluded Diversity Week as “Diversity Celebration Day,” which had several food trucks with different cultural foods. Officials also included cultural music and the histories of the available foods. The event expressed unity with the breaking of bread, officials said. Hines-Butts and Everidge led this event to close out the week.
“I am grateful, I am very grateful and blessed,” Hines-Butts said after planning and executing the inaugural week. “It was hard work put in, blood sweat and tears.”
Everidge said he was proud of the university and the campus. The attendees’ genuine curiosity and arriving with open minds was beautiful to see, Everidge said.
In addition to lectures and panels, several events were also held during the week including “A Quilt to Cover Us All,” presented by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) and the Ask. Communicate. Teach Tolerance. committee (ACT). Officials unveiled the quilt Friday. For more details about the event, check out the Ship Life section.
Hines-Butts said he enjoyed every day of Diversity Week but one of his favorites was the very first day. Starting off the week was exciting for Hines-Butts and important to Diversity Week.
“The first day of history, the first day that started it and it will go on forever,” he said.
While the initial vision for Diversity Week was to unite the campus and Shippensburg community, its debut was localized to solely the campus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Diversity Week will have more people joining the event in the future which “will result in a more diverse Diversity Week,” Everidge said.
Hines-Butts hopes to get the Shippensburg community involved in the spring through recognition although they cannot come onto campus next semester.
For more information about Diversity Week and to see some of the recorded events and panels visit ship.edu/about/diversity/diversity_week/.