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Joshua Clarke (left) stands beside President Corey Benbow (front) and Vice President Tucker Thompson (right) as he answers members questions pertaining to his role as Justice of the Supreme Court.

Student Government is hosting its first-ever Diversity Week, celebrating values and differences in the Texas State student body.

Scheduled for Oct. 25-Nov. 2, the week includes programs and events advancing cultural and diversity awareness. Diversity Week: Living in Our Truth is the first program Student Government has hosted to honor differences on campus.

According to the Student Government website, Diversity Week educates students on the importance of cross-culturalism and inclusion.

Each event and program acknowledges ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation, ability, religion, country of origin and veteran status as well as different points of view and backgrounds.

Kick-off events for Oct. 25 include performances from an array of students. Throughout the week, there will be showcases and projects dedicated to educational learning and remembrance of other cultures like the 1619 project and Black History in America. Las Cafeteras, Afro-Mexican music and storytelling group, will be performing Monday, Oct. 28.

Activities meant for students to meet and socialize include Drag Karaoke with Kristi Waters, who is specifically speaking to the LGBTQ+ community. The event is meant to allow members to feel open in embracing their identities.

According to the Texas State Brand Guidelines, 53% of Texas State students are minorities, comprising 45% white, 37% Hispanic, 11% African-American and 5% other.

According to the Office of Institutional Research, there has been a significant rise in the overall Hispanic enrollment from fall 2013 to fall 2018, with numbers jumping from 30.09% to 37.06%. The African-American enrollment rate has risen as well, from 7.93% to 11.18%. The minority student enrollment has increased overall.

Student Government President Corey Benbow said he was inspired to coordinate Diversity Week after speaking with an international student during his presidential campaign last semester.

“After being elected, (I implemented) a director of programming and said we should do a cultural mixer,” Benbow said. “Then I said, ‘why don’t we just turn it into a week of celebrations instead?’”

Benbow said his focus for Student Government is bringing the university community together.

“I am most certainly focused on how we can best draw in diversity that exists in this university and bring in inclusion, uniqueness and perspectives of individuals,” Benbow said.

According to Student Government Vice President Tucker Thompson, the program raises awareness of the various different perspectives of individuals on campus. After his and Benbow’s administration, they hope Diversity Week will continue annually.

“We would love for this to be continued after our administration is over because it is something incredibly fun for students to go to and something I think is very valuable, especially to our university and population,” Thompson said.

Maya Hicks, political science freshman, said the program is a great form of approaching students about the significance of differences each individual has and how to communicate effectively with the student body.

“(Diversity Week) is what students are going to remember and continuously think about, even after the week is over,” Hicks said. “I think this is something we can carry with us even after college because of the importance it holds.”

To view more information about Student Government Diversity Week: Living in Our Truth and its events, visit the website: https://studentgovernment.dos.txstate.edu/diversity-week.html.

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