Diversity Rocks events begins this morning on South Lawn

Lynn Steller

Organizers of the event on DUC South Lawn today hope diversity will rock.

For the fourth year in a row “Diversity Rocks” will hit campus and shake things up. Activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate diversity on Western’s campus.

Molly Kerby, a university college instructor, said Michael Brockman, a former student, started the event four years ago to increase awareness about diversity on campus.

He created the event in 2001 to display diversity in regard to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion and everything in between.

Today the event will include free hot dogs and drinks, live entertainment, information booths and a speaker. Kerby encouraged many different students to attend and said the event will go on rain or shine.

Melissa from MTV’s “The Real World” New Orleans season cast will speak about diversity. She was the only member of the cast that season who was half black, half Filipino.

Melissa’s Web site features a store which sells some of her art designs. Profits from a T-shirt with the catch phrase “Melissa will kill you” benefit City of Hope. City of Hope funds medical research for diseases such as cancer, AIDS and diabetes.

Last year’s speaker, Dan Renzi, was also from MTV’s “The Real World.” He promoted gay rights and explained many symbols from the gay community.

More than 1,000 visitors attended last year and 24 booths were set up by various campus groups.

Kerby’s band, Lost River, is one of six that will play today. Also playing is a bluegrass band and a guitar and bongo band, among others. One requirement for all bands playing is that they must feature lyrics that do not degrade any group of humanity.

Some organizations and academic departments that will be setting up booths include Campus Activities Board, WKU Health Services, the social work department, the nursing department, the campus bookstore, the Outlet and Campus Crusade for Christ. Kerby said that often other groups will come at the last minute and set up as well.

The Kentucky Association for Nursing Students, or KANS, will be selling candy to earn money for local non-profit organizations.

Nashville junior Gail Butler is treasurer of KANS. She said they donate money to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as last weekend’s Relay for Life.

Butler said KANS will deposit the money in its account until a later date in which the association deems a recipient in most need.

The money will also help new nursing students buy equipment such as stethoscopes.

“We have been selling them since January, and we have a lot to sell,” Butler said.

Reach Lynn Steller at [email protected]