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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Diversity workshops aim to bridge gaps

Abreham+S+Dadi+%28Class+of+2019%29%26%23160%3B+helped+lead+the+Power+and+Privilege+workshop.
Photo by Photo by Cristian Aguirre

Abreham S Dadi (Class of 2019)  helped lead the Power and Privilege workshop.

Diversity inclusion workshops hosted by Aggies to Aggies (A2A) have developed new content over the past year as they continue to push for on campus dialogue on cultural diversity. This semester they have completed 23 training sessions so far, and hope to broaden their reach throughout the year.
A2A is an education program that seeks to use workshops to educate and train students in diversity and inclusion. They currently host five different cultural diversity presentations on a request-by-request basis for student organizations and also general presentations for the student body. The organization hosted two general student body presentations in October and will host two more on micro-aggressions and cultural differences on Nov. 8 and 9.
She’Ella Mott, communication junior who attended A2A’s general student body presentation on cultural appropriation, said she has had heated discussions on the topic with classmates in the past and came to the workshop to continue to gain perspective on the issue.
“I know we go to a school where the majority of students on campus are Caucasian,” Mott said. “So if it [the A2A presentation] was an open discussion I just wanted to see where other people stood on the situation and if they felt that it was important, as someone who is not Caucasian.”
General studies junior Margarita Montalvo also attended the cultural appropriation event and said that while she was already knowledgeable about the topic, she still gained something from the presentation.
“I know quite a bit about the topic already, but it was cool to see examples of it,” Montalvo said. “To see examples that I could possibly bring up when someone is confused about it to like explain it to them, was helpful.”
Pete Pham, a psychology senior and one of A2A’s peer diversity educators, said the presentation material being relatable to students was a main focus when A2A was planning the events.
“We try to put on a presentation and try to facilitate a dialogue between the group,” said Pham. “Kind of get them to incorporate their life, and kind of get them to think about the material that we’re presenting.”
Esperanza Olivarez, psychology junior hopes that A2A can help push more students out of their comfort zones to interact with and understand those from a variety of backgrounds. Olivarez is passionate about diversity inclusion and hopes to join A2A as a peer educator.
“It’s just the fact that if you’re not really face-to-face or in the same room as people like that, you kind of don’t really take into consideration where they’re actually at,” Olivarez said.
Pham said that A2A has gone through several changes in the past year and credited many of the developments their new advisor, Dear Aunaetitrakul, who is a diversity education specialist in the Department of Cultural Studies.
“She rebranded everything,” Pham said. “This group has been at A&M for years, but it’s gone through several name changes … last year was its first year having a concrete identity.”
Aunaetitrakul said students have been very receptive to their workshops, and she hopes more and more organizations will reach out to request diversity training for their members.
“Student leaders from various organizations request A2A workshops for their members,” Aunaetitrakul said. “This shows students’ commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus. They make sure that their members understand the importance of making A&M an inclusive and welcoming environment for all Aggies.”

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