Leveraging Diversity Charette

by New Idiom


Video games shall bring us together. Ok, maybe we’ll need more than that, but it could be a start.

Last Saturday, Improve ID hosted a charette titled “Leveraging Diversity.” Originally focused on the international student experience at ID, it turned out to cover a bigger arena of diversity, and how to turn potential stumbling blocks into advantages.

Over thirty attendees including students, faculty and staff were divided into five groups. From there, each group examined its diversities. As easy as it sounds, a lot went into this analysis. Sure, there is a large part of the community that calls a foreign country home, but diversity goes well beyond that into such things as various professional backgrounds, ages, and even the academic structure here at ID. (Foundation, First-Year, Second-Year, MDM, PhD) It was interesting to hear that such issues as cultural differences and holidays were just as problematic as classes being isolated from each other. I was forced to think about the problems First-Year students who didn’t go through Foundation encounter, feeling somewhat like an outsider to a group of friends who have already had a year of class experience together.

Next, each group presented their findings, along with simple solutions, to the rest of the attendees. And surprise, the diversity we have is in fact an advantage. In the global marketplace, we need to understand and learn from cultural and ethnic differences. We also need to learn from each other’s various backgrounds and not get caught up in living in a “design bubble.” Some solutions offered were as simple as establishing a cultural calendar where the student body can get together and celebrate a different holiday while learning about that culture. But the one theme that every group seemed to come up with is that we need a place to congregate, where MDM’s and Foundation students can grab a coffee and eat lunch; a place to go to and socialize with people from other classes. And it should also have video games, because they are what transcends every culture and can bring people together while taking the edge off a looming deadline.

If you ask me, the charette was a success. More people showed up than had signed up, and the faculty was involved as well, showing that they are committed to the students’ needs and improving ID. Now hopefully we can all get together and have a Wii tennis competition as the next holiday approaches.