ISU fair teaches about diversity


Logan Kahler/Iowa State Daily

Graduate assistant Aja Holmes socializes with members of the International Student Scholars Office, during the Diversity Resource Fair in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on March 26.

Jack Garcia

Students and student organizations gathered in the Memorial Union to learn more about diversity and to share resources and experiences with others.

The Diversity Resources Fair took place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

“I’m here to become more informed about the diversity of organizations here on campus,” said Zackary Reece, junior in political science and senator for the United Residents Off Campus in Student Government.

The fair featured 27 different organizations, a majority focusing on diversity.

“We want to start a conversation on campus about different opinions on topics about race and ethnicity, and what it means to be American in this country,” said Alicia Huerta, sophomore in public relations and member of Define America.

Many of the groups encouraged students of all types to join in the discussion, but there were also groups for a specific audience.

One of those groups was Womyn of Colour Network, which meets every other Thursday and discusses what it is like to be a woman of color at Iowa State.

“I think it is important because it gives women of color a chance to talk about their experiences with each other,” said Carmen Ballagan, senior in speech communication and vice president of the organization.

Another group in attendance was Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support.

“The goal is to recruit volunteers and make people aware of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Jocelyn Hernandez, ISU graduate and a domestic abuse diversity advocate for ACCESS. “We want to make people aware of our services on campus.”

ACCESS serves the campus through the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center and the ISU Police Department. The center provides counseling, legal advocacy and housing for victims.

The event was headed by Jane Kersch, senior in political science and a Student Government senator, as well as Jazmin Murguia, senior in journalism and communication and director of student diversity for Student Government.

“The idea is to get students more aware of resources ISU has to offer,” Kersch said. “To create the opportunity for these organizations to network with each other, and to get students more involved with what diversity organizations are doing on campus.”

Another goal for organizations and those involved with setting up the event was to give the different groups a chance to meet one another. 

“It’s good that all of the organizations are mingling with each other,” Murguia said. “This event has helped them with recruitment numbers and raising awareness.”

Murguia hopes next year will be even bigger, with more organizations and more students showing up.

Student Government President Dan Breitbarth said he had a more passive role in the event, but tried to help connect and empower those who were interested in participating.

“I hope that it can empower others to be comfortable, safe and successful on campus and feel included in the community,” Breitbarth said.