Students given platform to share unique identities


Samantha Vaith/Iowa State Daily

“You wouldn’t know this about me but”

Lesly Espinoza

“You don’t know how someone’s identity might have affected someone here at Iowa State University.” 

Julian Neely, director of diversity and inclusion, shared this message at a Student Government Diversity Committee event called “You Wouldn’t Know This About Me But.”

The event took place Tuesday afternoon and gave students a chance to share their unique identities.

Inspired by a Lee Mun Wah lecture in January, the Diversity Committee wanted to host a similar activity to bring awareness about the different identities and backgrounds of some students who aren’t always represented on campus.

“I attended the session because I will soon be a part of the new Student Government sessions and I want to be able to learn more about everyone’s experiences here on campus,” John Hoelzer, sophomore in mechanical engineering, said.

The first activity consisted of participants sharing their identity with their partner, who was completely different than them. Without having an actual conversation, one person listened as the other spoke about who they were, and vice versa.

Margo Foreman, director of equal opportunity, facilitated the conversation about how it’s important for people to share their identities with someone they may have never met.

“We also would like to see how we can help the Iowa State community with any concerns they may have before it becomes a continuous cycle we cannot control,” Neely said.

The second activity was the awakening of the night. The activity consisted of an anonymous survey that students filled out about their own identities. These identity surveys were later distributed to someone else to be announced to the crowd.

“It’s important for our campus to build a connection with someone so it’s harder for them to stereotype and assume things that are not about another student,” said Emily Tosoni, a committee member who is a senior in political science.

The event ended with a short TED Talk by Lee Mun Wah that consisted of his famous simple concept of walking someone home and getting to know others before passing a judgment.