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FHSU tea celebrates university diversity

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

On Wednesday afternoon, a couple of hours before campus shut down for a snow day, Fort Hays State University students examined diversity issues and sweet treats during Diversi-Tea event at Memorial Union.

"It's a way to get you informed," said Molly Walter, a senior from Sublette, who was attending her first Diversi-Tea. "It's a lot different than what I expected."

"I didn't know it was going to be so casual."

Wednesday's tea, one of four set for this semester, centered around a Black History Month theme. Information regarding the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was provided participants.

Walter and Michael Blumhorst, who works with the Christian Challenge on FHSU's campus, scanned several articles provided during the tea.

"I think it serves a purpose," Walter said of the Diversi-Tea. "The purpose is to give us information and let us experience a little diversity."

Blumhors agreed, adding that the event also helped remind him of that February is Black History Month.

Around 20 students sampled the red velvet cake, banana pudding and variety of teas while watching snow fall outside the union's windows.

For Dylan Obermueller, sophomore from Lincoln, the event was simply a welcome break from a day of classes. When asked what he hoped to gain from the event he said, "Food and socializing."

Hosted by FHSU's Office of Diversity Affairs, the Diversi-Tea series was organized by the Amber White, Diversity Affairs coordinator.

White, who joined FHSU's staff in September, hosted Diversi-Teas while a graduate student at the University of Toledo. She said she finds value in one-on-one educational opportunities that reach beyond presentation-based formats.

"What I also do each month is Diversify Your Mind," she said. "It's more of an interactive way to get outside of your box."

"I'm not very big on formal presentations. I'd rather do something that makes it real to you."

As a graduate student, White said she was given freedom to experiment with a variety of program formats such as weekly RAAP (Reaching African-American Potential) sessions.

A tea in January celebrated mentorship month. Upcoming Diversi-Teas will highlight Women's History Month, Asian Pacific Islander Awareness Heritage Month and Jewish History Month.