Campus Engagement Continues Celebrating Diversity through Black History Month Events

February 18, 2022

Campus Engagment Director Shannon Twumasi poses with a camel at an event on campusUIW’s Office of Campus Engagement is known among students for its fun activities, opportunities to meet new people, and events that offer the chance to truly enjoy the full college experience. From organizing Greek Life meet and greets to hosting movie nights under the stars, there is always something to do on campus thanks to the office’s dedicated team.

UIW Campus Engagement Director Shannon Twumasi (pictured left at a Campus Engagement event) knows that with the keen attention of the University’s student population as the school’s “hub for involvement and engagement,” she and her staff have a unique opportunity. Twumasi strives to use those moments of leisure and entertainment to foster an environment that encourages meaningful dialogue and provides experiences that celebrate diversity and promote social justice during Black History Month and beyond.

“We want to make sure that we are instilling diversity, equity and inclusion, so I think first that starts with the groups that we oversee,” explained Twumasi.

This is no small task for Twumasi and her team. Campus Engagement provides guidance for every UIW student organization, but it is important to Twumasi that every student feels like they can find somewhere they belong on campus.

“We want to make sure we are offering a wide variety of organizations for people to be part of and for people to feel like they can see themselves in that organization,” she added.

In addition, Campus Engagement hosts events year-round that celebrate the cultural differences found in UIW’s student body, utilizing campus partnerships to do so.

“So for example,” started Twumasi, “we partnered with International Student and Scholar Services to do Diwali and International Education Week. We partnered with the Ettling Center to do Civility Week and things of that nature.”

During Black History Month, Campus Engagement has planned three special events. The first, DiversiTEA, is a monthly event where students can engage in conversation with individuals of various cultures and backgrounds over cups of hot tea. This month’s DiversiTEA event welcomes student organization, “As One We Will,” to the table to encourage a dialogue with attendees about how to get involved in promoting social justice. Then on Saturday, Feb. 19, Campus Engagement and Residence Life will host a special viewing of Marvel’s Black Panther, an event that Twumasi and the rest of the team planned as a way to celebrate the talents and accomplishments of Black film professionals.

“The reason we chose Black Panther is because from the cast, even down to the people who made the costumes, to the directors, the crew is mostly made up of African Americans,” said Twumasi. “We wanted to showcase a movie where not just the actors, but the people behind the scenes were also African American.”

Finally, on Feb. 24, Campus Engagement is working with predominantly Black fraternities and sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta and Omega Psi Phi, as well as local Black-owned restaurant Mr. and Mrs. G’s Home Cooking, to host an open mic event. The two-hour open mic will include spoken word performances, poetry, music and more, as a way to showcase the talents of UIW’s Black student community. Twumasi says it is her hope that students of all backgrounds will attend these events to “really learn more about the culture, but also to be part of it.”

Throughout the rest of the year, Twumasi encourages students to try new things to expand their worldview.

“Involve yourself and challenge yourself to join something that may be different from what you typically are associated to,” she encouraged. “That’s the only way you are going to get out of your bubble … It’s really important to step out of your comfort zone, and not only that, but to start celebrating those things that are different from you as an individual.”

Learn more about UIW’s remaining Black History Month celebrations here.