MCKEESPORT, Pa. — “Position yourself so that you can learn about others without your personal bias getting in the way.”
This was the challenge set forth by speaker Deo Mwano to the audience at Penn State Greater Allegheny’s "All In" kickoff. The event was held in conjunction with the University’s "All In: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion" initiative.
Mwano asked the audience, filled with students, faculty and staff, what they thought about diversity and inclusion at the campus.
“It’s as diverse a circumstance as I’ve ever witnessed,” said Brad Walker, a freshman in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. “People are here from Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. Meeting them has helped me to realize they are not much different than me.”
Marcos Lopez, a sophomore animal sciences major said, “As a Hispanic, I find that people here love to hear about Puerto Rico, where I am from. Americans here are more open than those in Puerto Rico … they want to learn about our culture.”
Lopez was part of the planning committee for the event. He said that the Greater Allegheny community is built of people from different cultures and races, and the committee wanted input from the various people represented. “A lot of people on this campus are very open to diversity. They say it has helped them grow.”
Attendees were asked to place their handprint on a poster, and to sign a pledge declaring their commitment to "All In." People also made "confessional videos," saying what diversity and inclusion means to them.
Mwano encouraged the audience to remember to always talk about issues that make you feel uncomfortable. “Students, it is your responsibility to make sure your clubs and organizations are inclusive," he said. "Inclusiveness only works if you act on it.”
More "All In" events are being planned for upcoming months.