Organizations like the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Global Jackets are excited about the various events that they have organized upcoming semester to make the campus more inclusive. Especially during Martin Luther King Jr. week, it is important to consider the diverse nature of Tech’s students and faculty.
“Diversity isn’t limited to race or culture,” said SGA Vice President Amit Khanduri. “You have many different kinds of diversity, like diversity of experience, diversity in socioeconomic status or orientation.”
Tech is home to students from around the world; the number of vibrant cultures and different viewpoints represented on campus is staggering.
“We’ve got a lot of races and religions on campus, and we’re talking about how well Georgia Tech has adapted to that,” said Siddarth Sreeram, the Cultural and Diversity Affairs Committee Chair at SGA.
The SGA is hosting several events this semester in order to make Tech more supportive for those who are discriminated against or underrepresented; the goal of these programs is to create a setting for open discourse and to increase awareness of existing problems.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, SGA will be working with the Office of Diversity Programs to hold a Diversity Symposium for students. The symposium will feature a speaker, Tech alum Miller Templeton. There will also be a panel with an open forum for discussion of diversity-based topics.
SGA is specifically pursuing programs to assist the LGBTQ community at Georgia Tech.
“In Atlanta, there’s a really high population of LGBTQ community members. Off campus, there are several resources for them, but we’re sort of lacking on campus…We’ve got to somehow account for that and help [the LGBTQ community] out,” Sreeram said.
Another SGA initiative is the Greek Allies Program. The Cultural and Diversity Affairs Committee will call one representative from each fraternity and sorority to discuss culture and diversity on campus and give each representative resources to deal with possible problems.
“The premise of the Greek Allies Program is to have one member of every Greek house who has gone through Safe Space Training,” Khanduri said.
Safe Space Training is intended to familiarize a person with comfortably discussing issues about diversity, specifically in relation to problems faced by the LGBTQ community.
It is a form of sensitivity training that gives members of the LGBTQ community access to people who they can easily speak with about their situations and for support.
The Global Jackets, a 30 year-old organization working with the Office of International Education, is also holding events this semester to make campus more ethnically and culturally inclusive.
One of the best-known traditions that the Global Jackets hold is the Spring Culture Fest, a week-long celebration of the cultures represented at Tech. This week includes events such as an International Food Fest, where several different students cook food from their cultures and serve the dishes along Skiles Walkway.
Culture Fest also includes the ever-popular International Karaoke Night, where students who attend can sing songs in any language.
The Global Jackets also hold a Movie Series, during which students can watch foreign films such as the award-winning German comedy, Goodbye Lenin.
“We want to celebrate all cultures, making a union of the international and national communities,” said Courtney Widjaja, Global Jackets officer.
The upcoming semester holds several opportunities to reflect on the diversity of Tech campus. Even students that are not directly involved in a large student organization can contribute to a more inclusive campus.
“I think standing up for someone you see being discriminated against is one of the strongest things you can do. It takes a lot of strength to do that…by standing up for someone, you are being a leader,” Khanduri said.