Upper-level administrators joined students at the 10th annual Students of Color Alliance Unity Dinner on Wednesday, with many leaving before the evening’s discussion of how to improve diversity and collaboration among students.
Attendees talked about pluralism and diversity while sampling food from various cultural traditions at the dinner in Copley Formal Lounge.
SOCA Co-Presidents Patrick Zhang (SFS ’15) and Minjung Kang (SFS ’15) delivered the State of SOCA address outlining the history of the organization and the steps the group, which includes representatives from cultural clubs, hopes to take in the future.
Leadership in Education about Diversity representatives facilitated discussions at tables with students and faculty about the evolving climate of diversity at Georgetown.
While this year’s dinner saw a record number of administrators and faculty in attendance, including Director for the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access Dennis Williams, Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., and Provost Robert Groves, most did not stay for the discussions.
“I think that something that upset me was that the adults that were invited to come left before the discussion even began. They just came for the food and left,” SOCA Chinese Student Association representative Christina Ling (MSB ’15) said.
Though Kang shared Ling’s disappointment, she understood that administrators may have felt out of place in student-centered discussions.
“I wish they could have stayed but I think that maybe they felt that they didn’t fit into the discussions, because this was a little student-organization oriented,” Kang said.
For many attendees, the dinner represented not only an opportunity for dialogue with fellow SOCA organizations but also an analysis of the state of minority affairs at Georgetown.
“I liked that so many different cultural organizations were able to come together in one spot,” Ling said. “My biggest takeaway from this dinner tonight is that diversity is an issue that needs to be a bigger focus in Georgetown, as part of the administration and on campus.”
Zhang said that the event was successful in facilitating dialogue.
“We’re hoping that this Unity Dinner will set the tone for the coming academic year in terms of collaborative programming among student organizations and also break the ice in terms of discussions between student leaders and staff and administrators,” Zhang said.