(Posted May 23, 2013)

Photos submitted by students reflected multiples ideas about unity.

Photos submitted by students reflected multiples ideas about unity.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently organized and concluded the Unity Photo Contest, a competition in which students were asked to submit photos that they thought best portrayed diversity. Meagan Floyd, who works as a Juniata Associate at the Unity House, gives her opinion on the significance of the photo contest and its implications in regards to the experiences of students.

Q: What were some of your favorite elements of the submitted photos?

A: I think we got about 39 photos. Some of my favorites were seeing people who had gone abroad, and seeing them engage in another culture. We had some people who had pictures of themselves taking part in cultural dances in the Gambia. There was another student who was in India wearing a traditional sari with the natives.

Q: Many students submitted photos taken during their experiences abroad. What are your thoughts on study abroad in terms of how valuable it is in exposing students to diversity and other cultures?

A: I definitely think it's valuable, especially since many students here are from rural Pennsylvania, where they may not see a lot of people from diverse backgrounds. I think it was really helpful to see a lot of students who have gone abroad and have gotten a lot out of the experience. It really promotes that study abroad can be a great experience.

Q: Do you think life at Juniata provides students with adequate exposure to a diverse and multicultural community?

A: I think it depends on where you're from. I think Juniata tries, but I don't know if it's sufficient or not. I come from a place where you can walk down the block and see people of five or six nationalities. Juniata definitely hasn't reached that point, but I think it's trying.

Q: By hosting events such as the photo contest and inviting guest speakers, how effective do you think the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has been in diversifying Juniata's campus?

A: A lot of people aren't aware of the role that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion plays. As far as the people who work there, I think the office tries to bring people of different nationalities and cultures to campus, and to really give Juniata a more diverse feel. Ten years ago only about 1 percent of Juniata's population was minority, so it was nowhere near as diverse as it is now. Minorities now make up about 12 percent of Juniata's population, so I think the office really has played a huge role.

Q: What purpose or significance do you think the contest had for students?

A: I think students were able to see other students' photos and experiences while they were abroad. Another impact might have been seeing students engage with people of other cultures and it really helped bring that aspect of diversity and multiculturalism, which is what the contest intended to do.

Melissa Famularo '13, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.