Thanks to Matt George’s great idea and Joe Fakhoury’s execution of this idea, the organization I helped start called the Diversity Council was put on the map.  The idea was an event called “AUC Culture Week” which culminated in a Talent show named, “AUC’s Got Talent”.  The show was a huge success at the end of an awesome “AUC Cultural Week” where all the organizations at AUC put on a cultural event, or two, every day of the week.  I still remember one student saying, “I wish every week was Culture Week .”  I only wish that was true.

But since then a great deal has changed.  First and foremost is the relationship between the Diversity Council (DC) and the school. In 2009, on the first Cultural Week, there was no relationship.  Back then, the school would not let us book a room since we were not a ‘recognized’ organization.  Weirdly, even the ‘recognized’ student organizations had troubles booking rooms and had to reschedule a lot due to magical new rules (aka double standards).  What sticks out the most in mind was how Dr. Testa, then Dean of Student Affairs and now Dean of Basic Sciences, did not want there to be a Talent Show or at least tried his best to stop it (ironically he ended up being a surprise judge – who says you can’t eat your cake too).

So what happened was Dr. Testa told Joe with only two weeks till the event (and after a month of preparation), that the Talent Show could not happen in Lecture Hall 2 (the only place we could do it).  He said that “people” needed to study and it would be unfair to them since the show would be too loud for people in the library. Granted this lecture hall is one of the two lecture halls underneath the library, but I believe Dr. Yoshida (then Dean of Basic Sciences, head honcho) said it best, “Who study’s on Friday at 7 pm?” So fortunately, she overruled Dr. Testa that one time.  You may find it interesting though that she came to regret it later when Dr. Testa “filled her in” because she told us, or I should say me specifically, before the event, “Dr. Testa is very angry at you, you should go get his respect back.”

Besides these ‘little’ hurdles that Joe and friends had to face, Joe did an excellent job at the time coordinating with the other Student Organizations, which is sort of the point of the Diversity Council. When we created the diversity council we, students, were disappointed with the school and we wanted more; more from the school and more from ourselves.  The status quo at the time was study, study and take care of your frikin’ self (theatrical exaggeration, kind of). At most schools back in the states and, according to faculty members at AUC, other Caribbean schools as well – there is an actual extra-curricular life.  I’m told people actually work together to put on big events.  At AUC, only a few organizations like Phi Chi or AMSA used to put on big events; no one else.  I am almost absolutely sure no one used to work together.  So when the DC put on AUC Cultural Week with everyone working together, not only was it a hit, but it was a feel good moment too.  It also proved indefinitely that we wanted to learn each other’s cultures, contrary to popular faculty/student belief.

Now though, students have forgotten these three things: that the school did not want culture week/AUC’s Got Talent (or the DC, but this is another story), that almost every activity outside of class is organized by students (honestly they should be paying us), and that we, students, want to learn about other people’s cultures. In my opinion, if your field is all about people – it only makes sense that you want to actually learn what makes people act the way they do (not just what makes them tick).  All in all, the point is don’t take anything for granted; someone worked hard and fought for what you enjoy now.

What do you think?

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