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First Diversity Week for University


Steve Spinks
14 August 2014

Southern Cross University will host its first Diversity Week, starting Monday August 18, which aims to further intercultural understanding and community harmony through cultural exchange and social connection.

Diversity Week will be celebrated across the three SCU campuses at Coffs Harbour, Lismore and the Gold Coast, with the broad themes of the week including accessibility, cultural diversity, diverse sexualities, food for thought, Indigenous Australian peoples and gender equity.

Diversity Week coordinator Rob Cumings said the event was expected to become a highlight on the University’s calendar.

“This is the University’s first Diversity Week. It includes and builds on the success of the Fusion Festival, our multi-cultural celebration,” he said.

“The week-long program is a great opportunity for students, staff and the community to join together, communicate, share ideas, reflect on challenges and celebrate the achievements of our diverse communities. It demonstrates the University’s commitment to acknowledging, learning from and celebrating our diversity. Its clear message is that everyone belongs.

“The week features a thought-provoking guest lecture by Dr Norm Sheehan, director of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. There will also be a lively co-lecture by an internationally recognised specialist in sexuality, human rights and culture, Professor Baden Offord, from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, and gay icon, health educator and past Big Brother house-holder Tobin Saunders.”

Each campus has its own unique calendar of events during the week, but each will hold the Fusion Festival as part of Diversity Week. Colourfest, a multi-cultural movie matinee, will also feature at each campus.

The Coffs Harbour campus will hold its Fusion Festival on Tuesday, August 19, from 11am to 2pm which will feature world music, cuisine and cultural performances.

During the Week two panel discussions will be held ‘I’m not racist but ….’. This will be a discussion with an expert panel on race, racism, whiteness and inclusion. The second panel discussion is titled ‘LGBTI in the regions – We’re here and we’re queer’, these events are being held at the Lismore campus, but will be video-conferenced across each campus. Lismore’s Fusion Festival will be held on Wednesday, August 20.

The Gold Coast campus will hold a unique event called Jimbo’s Sleepout on Thursday, August 21. The event is in honour of Jimbo, a man who cared deeply for others and was always ready with a smile. He lived on the streets of Coolangatta and Tweed and died in 2008. Staff and students will sleep out at the campus with a sleeping bag and a cardboard box and raise funds and increase awareness of homelessness. The sleepout will follow on from the Gold Coast’s Fusion Festival.

Photo: Diversity Week is coming to SCU.