Cookout will provide diversity, discrimination forum

Kevin Allen

Students and administrators will discuss their experiences with diversity and discrimination at an afternoon cookout as part of the fifth annual Erase the Hate campaign.

The mission of Erase the Hate is to create an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding by sharing and discussing the experiences of different groups on campus, according to the group’s Facebook page.

This year, that will be achieved with “A Walk in Their Shoes” cookout on South Lawn.

Danville junior D’Andree Logan, a coordinator for the event, said he wants the program to speak specifically to other students.

“We want them to know they aren’t alone and that people have the same feelings they do,” Logan said. “Everybody is out here trying to meet new people and make it in college, and discrimination is just another obstacle in the way of that goal.”

The event will touch on many topics, and all of them are things students should think about, Logan said.

“There are a lot of messages you can get from this program, so I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one,” he said. “Things from the fact that you aren’t alone to discrimination not being needed.”

Encouraging people to talk about these issues is especially necessary on a campus as diverse as WKU’s, said Versailles sophomore Chris Jankowski, another coordinator for the event.

Jankowski said his own experiences as a resident assistant in Pearce-Ford Tower showed him the need for this event.

“It’s going to be an educational experience, and these conversations are ones that we as RAs have had with residents before,” Jankowski said.

In years past, the Erase the Hate campaign took place over a week, but this year it has been condensed into a single day, Jankowski said.

“All in one day will bring the entire experience to the students in a shorter amount of time,” he said.

“A Walk in Their Shoes” is a series of talks by 20 students about their experiences as members of a group, including non-traditional students, student leaders and Gatton Academy students, Jankowski said.

“As you sit in the audience listening to them speak, you’ll be able to relate to them because they are the everyday student,” he said.

After the students talk, three administrators will speak about their experiences dealing with diversity in the workplace and how they got to their current positions, he said.

The event is on South Lawn today from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and there will be free food and giveaways provided.