Celebrate Diversity

April is national Celebrate Diversity month!  Though attending school at UWP may feel like an experience in diversity, you likely don’t realize the lack of diversity on our campus.  On a campus of 8,000 students, only 10% of those people are NOT White/Caucasian.  That means 7,200 of you likely have never experienced the challenges and systemic oppression of other ethnic groups.  A new bulletin board on four west discusses how diversity affects our campus and where you can have experiences to expose you to people that are different from yourself.  A large calendar displays events happening on-campus and around the world in the topic of diversity.  The mission and vision statements of the university are also displayed to show how critical diversity is to the success of the institution.  More information about the demographics of our campus can be found here.  Interested in learning more about diversity?  Stop into the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Warner Hall.

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Ebony Weekend Comedian: Ms. Pat

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Every year during Black History Month (February), UWP students of the Black Student Union host Ebony Weekend.  Ebony Weekend is centered around dialogue between people of all ethnicities about the experiences of black persons in the modern day.  Entertainment for the weekend long event was provided by stand-up comedian, Ms. Pat.  Ms. Pat brought the audience along on the struggles and triumphs of her life through her amazing story telling and sense of humor.  As she shared her experiences, she pointed out that people in the crowd may relate to her story a certain way because we all value things differently.  Ms. Pat’s upbringing and early adulthood may not have looked “normal,” but who are we to say what normal is?  In between the funny stories and jokes, Ms. Pat brought to light the value of having a conversation with those around us.  She shared personal examples of how she has been hurt when she hasn’t engaged in conversation and time when her life was changed for the better when she did engage.

Residents for four west in attendance included Gus, Nick, Emerson, Ian, and honorary residents Brandon and Mae.  Thanks to BSU and CPR for putting together this event and to Ms. Pat for the great laughs.  To learn more about Ms. Pat, her comedy, and her recently released autobiography, follow this link.  To learn more about BSU and Ebony Weekend, follow this link.

Stock photo credit: www.mspatcomedy.com

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One person’s trash…

Realizing how much we have (clothing, food, transportation, technology) is very humbling.  40.6 million Americans live at or below the poverty line which is a household income of $9,175 a year.  People living in poverty don’t have much money to cover their daily needs and must purchase “new” items through resell stores, bent and dent shops, and at pantries.  In recent years UWP administration has taken steps to ease the burden on persons with lower incomes with the introduction of Pioneer Provisions, a food pantry, and Pioneer Restore, a resale store.  Learning what these resources can and can not do for those in poverty will make you quickly realize the struggles these families must work through to carry out their daily lives.  You never know, your neighbor could be affected by the constraints of a low income.  Take a few minutes to learn how the university is converting “waste” products into viable options at low prices at the Pioneer Restore.  The bulletin board titled “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” has valuable information how you can get involved.

Additional information:

Restore

Provisions

Poverty

Poverty Thanksgiving

On a Friday evening in November, Tyler and Ramsey put together a very thought provoking and engaging presentation.  The underlying message throughout was the fact that many people around the world live on very limited resources.  Those attending experienced first-hand what the unequal distribution of resources feels like.  Food and water, vital resources for life, were the examples used.  A dinner of chicken, beans, rice, and cookies was prepared.  One person was selected to represent 15% of the world’s population that does not have any food insecurities.  This person enjoyed all of the items prepared for the meal.  Three people represented 25% of the population that makes ends meet, but do not have any excess resources.  These people were served rice and beans, with a glass of water.  Five people represented 60% of the population that struggles everyday to feed themselves and their families.  This group was fed a handful of rice and half a glass of water.  One person did move from the lower level to the middle level because a new factory opened in their area and they started a new job, raising their income level.  There was a great discussion about how each person felt depending on which level they were in.  I know that I have a new appreciation for how lucky I am to not be food insecure and how different my life would be if I was.  I challenge each of you to think about how many opportunities you have, that others may not just because of who you are and the environment you live in.  This holiday season is great time to realize that others may not be as lucky as we are and a time to find a way that leads to positive change for people unlike ourselves.

Visit the following websites to learn more:

Feeding America

Outreach International

Photo credit: Ramsey Beckmann

What’s in a name?

Ever wondered how a place got it’s name?  Platteville is named from the Platte River which runs through Grant County.  The word “Platte” is derived from a French word that means shallow or flat.  Many towns and prominent locations across Wisconsin have names with roots in French and Native American languages.  The new bulletin board on four west explores Wisconsin’s heritage across the state.  Half of the board gives examples of Native American influence in the state and the other half does the same for French influence.  Stop by the board to prepare for November’s celebration of Native American heritage month!

United We Stand: Peterson Farm Bros

Homecoming week started off with the United We Stand lecture on Sunday evening.  United We Stand is an initiative sponsored by the Department of Residence Life and Campus Programming and Relations.  The basis of this initiative is to bring attention to the diversity of our fellow Pioneers and how we can stand against discrimination and bias.  The first lecturer of the year was Greg Peterson, one of three brothers that are YouTube stars with millions of views on their channel Peterson Farm Bros.  Greg recounted how quickly their first music parody “I’m Farming and I Grow it” racked up views.  The intent of the video was to show the livelihood of farmers in a format that the public would be interested in and entertained by.  Greg emphasized the point that you can never predict how your messages will spread across the Internet, so be aware of the opportunities and pitfalls of speaking up online.  If you would like more information about Greg and his brothers Nathan and Kendall hit their website Peterson Farm Bros.  Look for the United We Stand series to continue in the spring semester on February 11 and March 11.

Photo credit: Walter Wrobles

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Sex, hygiene and relationships answered

Last night, May 3, three resident assistants put on a presentation to explain the importance of healthy relationships, good hygiene, and proper sexual practices. Connor, Megan did a great job explaining to the audience what it means to be effective in all of those things. Connor talk a lot about how every relationship is different and should be respected by others in terms of how significant others choose to treat eachother. Everyone is entitled to there own opinions of public affection and people shouldn’t be put down for what they like. From 4W, Lukas and I were in attendance and enjoyed the ice cream and discussion. Residents, be watchful for other fun programs that will pop up until the end of the semester arrives!

DiverSEAty!

As we return from what was hopefully a great winter break, I would like to like to remind us to respect each other’s diverse interests. I challenge everyone to take part and try one of your neighbors hobbies this spring. Who knows? Maybe you will really enjoy it! We may be different, but like these fish, we are much more alike. Be courteous to others because we are all students and young men at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville!

It will be a great opportunity to show my residents what UW-Platteville has offered to them based on their religious beliefs. I decided to take one of my residents to the Catholic Newman community since he is also catholic. It was a awesome chance to discover and get to know more about catholic religious beliefs and other important facts about church other than ignoring it and knowing nothing about it. 

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