Week-long Series Celebrates Campus Diversity

(3-20-98) -- Boston College will celebrate its cultural and religious diversity, and the contributions of women to the campus community, with a week-long series of events starting Monday, March 23.

The Boston College Neighborhood Center will begin the series with a community reception in Gasson Hall at 4:30 p.m. to open what organizers called "a week of activities dedicated to appreciating people, respecting differences and sharing common bonds."

College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ, will greet the more than 150 reception guests, who included workers from local youth, elderly and church programs and some 70 schoolchildren and their parents involved in tutoring courses with Boston College student volunteers. The two-hour program will include folk tales by master storytellers and music by the Heightsmen, the Acoustics and members of the University Chorale.

On Wednesday, March 25, panelists versed in several different faith traditions will take part in a discussion on religious diversity. The event is sponsored by the Diversity Project, a campus multicultural campaign, and will be carried out under the auspices of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee.

Center for Ignatian Spirituality Director Howard J. Gray, SJ, will moderate the forum in Gasson 100 from noon-2 p.m. Prof. Francis Clooney, SJ (Theology) and Seena Aras '99, will offer perspectives on Hinduism, and Assoc. Prof. John Makransky (Theology) will speak on Buddhism. A Protestant outlook will be given by Rev. Howard McLendon, a Baptist minister who is affiliated with the University Chaplaincy, while Asst. Prof. Bruce Morrill, SJ (Theology), will present a Catholic view.

"We need to have these conversations," said Black Studies Program Assistant Sandra Sandiford. "People tend to think of Boston College as a monolith - white, Irish-Catholic, upper-class. That's all they see. But there's much more than that here."

The next event in the series will be a Thursday lecture at 4:30 p.m. in Devlin 008 by Blanche Wiesen Cooke, professor of history and women's studies at the City University of New York and an award-winning biographer of Eleanor Roosevelt. Cooke will present "Eleanor Roosevelt, Women and Power," in commemoration of Women's History Month. The lecture is being sponsored by the Women's Studies Program and several other departments.

Thursday at 8 p.m. in Gasson 100, a two-person play based on a dialogue between civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, titled "The Meeting," will be sponsored by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College's Unity office as part of the UGBC "Diversity Week" observance.

That observance continues on Friday, March 27, when the Philippine Society of Boston College sponsors its fifth annual showcase for various student performance groups at 7 p.m. in the Welch Dining Room of Lyons Hall.

On Saturday, March 28, the Social and Political Action Committee of UGBC will host a "teach-in" on poverty 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in Higgins 304.

"We're seeking to provide a variety of programs and talk about a variety of issues, so everyone on campus will get something out of the week," said Jason Williams '98, executive director of the UGBC Department for Social and Cultural Issues. "We're hoping to teach that, between all these diverse perspectives, there runs a common thread. We hope we'll find commonalities between everyone that will allow us to come together."

Also on Friday, the Women's Resource Center will mark its 25th anniversary on campus with an afternoon of events, beginning with a 1 p.m. panel discussion including alumnae and students and moderated by Prof. Judith Wilt (English), "Reflections: Women at Boston College." A performance by the Voices of Imani and poetry readings will follow that discussion and preceed an afternoon of roundtable discussions, "Boston College Women in Society," in Gasson Hall.

The roundtables, which will begin at 4:15 p.m. will feature current and former administrators, faculty and students, who will address "Women in the Workplace," "Women and Religion and Spirituality," "Women and the Boston College Culture," and "Building Bridges Among Women." The week will conclude on Saturday with the Oscar A. Romero Scholarship Dinner at 8 p.m. in the Lower Campus Dining Hall Heights Room. University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will present the scholarship named for the slain Salvadoran archbishop. The $3,500 award is presented annually to a Boston College junior of Latino descent who represents the values and ideals of Archbishop Romero, whose work against poverty and repression in El Salvador led to his assassination while saying Mass in 1980.

The event, sponsored by the Archbishop Oscar Romero Scholarship Committee, coincides with the first annual Hispanic Alumni Weekend at the Heights.

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