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Reception celebrates cultural collaboration on campus

Cultural Collaboration Reception_11.jpg
Fabiola Paniagua, senior recreational therapy student, and Desiree Stevens, junior sociology major, are working at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion table at the Cultural Collaboration Reception.Photo credit: Frances Mansour

Inside the Bell Memorial Union ballroom, an audience gathered to watch hip-swaying movements to the beat of an island melody. Slow, flowing hand gestures accented colorful flowers worn with Hawaiian-print cloth dresses.

Chico State welcomed back all students on campus at the Cultural Collaboration Reception on Jan. 29 with entertainment, information booths and networking opportunities.

Singers and dancers performed on stage throughout the event, featuring cultural dance styles ranging from Polynesian to Zumba. Twenty-four organizations came out to support the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s event.

Fabiola Paniagua, a senior recreational therapy major, works as a student assistant in the office.

“I am really passionate about activism with different populations,” Paniagua said.

Welcome Week was an event held last fall to welcome students back to campus and introduce them to various groups.

“We hope for connections to be kept in touch and for new connections to be built in the campus community,” Paniagua said.

Julia Walker, a sophomore Spanish major, described cultural collaboration as making people aware of the different cultures that that they are among every day and overlook.

“It’s a good way to connect,” Walker said. “We all value culture, just being here on campus shows that.”

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion serves as a resource to Chico’s campus community. The office makes people aware of the different services on campus and helps bring visibility to organizations that aren’t as prominent, Paniagua said.

Jerad Prevost, a first-year recording arts and public administration double major, got involved in a hall council, putting on programs for Sutter Hall. To Prevost, cultural collaboration means celebrating the unity on campus.

“Most of them are freshmen coming in and it is a way of showcasing what Chico has to offer,” Prevost said. “So not only is it for personal growth, but academic growth.”

This event prompted those who attended to learn about all the different organizations on campus. Hannah Ramey, a senior agriculture major, heard of the reception through the student announcements.

“There’s people to talk to, things to watch and places to give your opinion, like the quilt,” Ramey said. “You feel like you’re a part of it, instead of just walking through it.”

She discussed her experience studying abroad and said she has countless friends from small cultures.

Not making judgments brings good things out of everyone’s culture, she said.

“Letting people be who they want to be,“ Ramey said. “It’s good to be involved. You never know, you might embrace someone else’s culture.”

Chico State is an equal opportunity institution and Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, discussed his view of cultural collaboration.

“It brings awareness, advocacy and it celebrates diversity,” Robinson said. “Fighting for equality and equality for all.”

Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @AmandaHovik on Twitter.

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