The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives started off the semester with a bang.
On Aug. 23, we were among 120 student organizations and 39 businesses, nonprofits and departments at Bear Fair in the University Center. We kicked off Welcome Back Week in style by walking the red carpet with the Regional Academic Centers. We made stops at the Macon, Henry, and Douglas campuses alongside the Student Success teams and the Office of Nontraditional and Evening Services. On Aug. 31, the office co-sponsored a multicultural mixer with the Minority Mentor Program on Cruz Plaza. The event featured free food, prizes, and Mercer swag with representatives from the multicultural clubs and organizations on campus. Before the mixer, students were able to feast on multicultural cuisine at the Taste Around the World event at the Fresh Food Company. This event featured special guest Chef Masa Yamashita, regional executive chef for Aramark Higher Education. Mercerians enjoyed international cuisines chosen from selected locations around the world at each food station.
Programming will continue into September with a private screening of Marvel’s highly anticipated “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” on Sept. 7 at AmStar Cinemas in Macon. The movie’s director and lead actor spoke of the movie’s cultural significance and diversity with a predominantly Asian cast. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is partnering with several student organizations including Mercer Asia to offer this private screening.
On Sept 8, the office is co-sponsoring several events with the Mercer University Study Abroad Office. The first event in the series is Coffee and Culture, which will feature limited-edition diversity, equity and inclusion-inspired coffee cups for attendees. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also will host a table at the Study Abroad Fair, to be held noon-2:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in Penfield Hall. Then, on Sept. 16, I will host a panel to help increase the number of underrepresented populations in study abroad experiences.
Next, join the Macon-Bibb County community for a gathering of LGBTQIA+ families and allies in downtown Macon during Macon Pride Week. The week kicks off Sept. 20 with a “Broadway Does Pride” show at The Grand Opera House. The event will feature an LGBTQIA+ cabaret show and a “History of the LGBTQIA+ Community in Macon” exhibit in the lobby. The Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Office will sponsor tickets to the event for members of the Mercer community, including students from Mercer Urge and Rainbow Connection. Please contact me if you would like tickets to the show.
In closing out the month, the office will host International Day on the Atlanta campus in conjunction with Enrollment Management, International Student Services and Student Affairs-Atlanta. We’ll also host our first J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Week Sept. 27-Oct. 1 featuring a talk with the social justice book club, discussion of voting rights in Georgia and a celebration of national Diversity Day on October 1. More information is to come.
Editor’s Note: This column has been updated to remove information about this year’s Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, which has since been canceled due to COVID-19.