The 12th Annual Diversity Breakfast, officiated by Juan Castro, member of the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday, Oct. 21 was a success thanks to the hard work of two EKU former undergraduate, and now graduate students, Raven Garcia and Abby Wright.
“We wanted to make sure the students knew that we were being heard, and that they are important and have a voice,” says Wright.
For Garcia, thinking about every Diversity Breakfast she attended as an undergrad and scholar, the goal this year was to make sure that the event was as student focused as possible.
Also in attendance was guest speaker, Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.Thompson, an EKU Alum, spoke to those in attendance about the council’s state priorities and commitment to higher education, which include affordability, work based learning programs and high quality innovative programs. These advantages would ensure that more students would earn degrees regardless regardless of race, gender and socioeconomic background.
“Some of the faculty didn’t know some of the information, so it educated them as well,” said Wright.
Thompson also challenged faculty, staff and students to extend their efforts of understanding and responding effectively to diversity beyond the breakfast. It is his belief that higher education is the key to personal opportunity and economic growth.
“What we’re doing is bigger than us,” Thompson said.
Wright and Garcia worked together, relying on each others skills, such as strong communication, to ensure the success of this event. The planning process started in July, which included reaching out to speakers and working directly with Aramark for catering needs.
While earning her degree in Family Consumer Science Education, Garcia became the Co-Founder of Pi Lambda Chi, a Latina Sorority here on campus, vice president of the Latino Student Association and a resident assistant.
“Every job I had and every organization I was in on campus gave me the patience, time management, and organization skills needed to be able to put an event like this together,” said Garcia.
As a successful former student-athlete, Wright played for the EKU Women’s basketball team and achieved academic success while earning her degree in Homeland Security. Wright used the network and skills she gained from her experiences at EKU to plan the diversity breakfast.
“My time as a basketball player allowed me to set up more connections with prominent people here on campus,” said Wright. “In the Homeland Security program, we learned to think creatively and critically, while also being personable and having good communication. For this event I used my skills to contact, reach out and creatively think of ways to solve issues.”
For more information about future diversity events on campus, contact the EKU Diversity Office at 859-622-6587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.