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Diversity groups coordinate costume party

October 19, 2006

Ghosts, witches, superheroes and otherwise are all invited to celebrate diversity at the Diversity Awareness Committee (DAC) Haunted Halloweekend dance party and costume contest on Friday, Oct. 27. The party is held in the South Fork Suites conference room from 9 p.m. until midnight.

Admission is $1 or one non-perishable food item to be donated to the River Falls food shelf. The event is sponsored by DAC and run by all of the diversity organizations at UW-River Falls.

Ashley Olson, DAC chairperson, said costume contests are scheduled every half hour, and a different diversity organization will award a prize and explain what the group does. The event is not only to commemorate Halloween and get people together, but also to highlight all the student organizations celebrating diversity on campus.

“I’m really excited because it’s the first event all of the diversity orgs collaborated on,” Olson said.

All students are encouraged to attend the party.

“It’s an opportunity to meet and learn about the different groups and people on campus,” Olson said.

The reason a costume party was chosen as the joining forces affair is because, “It’s a neutral event to get a lot of people there,” Olson said. “It’s social, so people can meet others and get interested in what we’re all about.”

Miriam Huffman, who advised DAC until recently, said the group often got the diversity organizations together to get them familiar and comfortable with each other. This is the first event to get the campus familiar with them while they are all together.

“They’d bring in facilitators to gauge things on campus,” Huffman said. “Newsletters would be sent out for the diversities to be aware of each other. There was no purely social gathering before.”

Taking over for Huffman, Karyn Kling is the current advisor of DAC.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Kling said. “It’s about all of the diversity orgs coming together for the entire campus.”

One of the participating diversity organizations is the Black Student Union (BSU).

BSU President Tony Anderson said he likes the idea of getting involved with the party because BSU is trying make itself more visible to the campus, as wells as collaborating with the other diversity organizations.

“This is one opportunity to get out on campus and be visible,” Anderson said. “This is an opportunity to get out there and open doors for future opportunities.”

When its BSU’s turn to judge the costumes, Anderson, who is planning to show up in Peter Pan attire, said he is anticipating the organization to judge based on best or most unique style.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is another diversity organization participating in the holiday celebration. GSA President Lacey Felmlee said she has similar aspirations as Anderson for the party’s goals.

“It’s a collective effort,” Felmlee said. “It will also show that there is diversity on campus.”
Felmlee said she hopes the organizations will show growth from familiarizing with each other to getting the word out on campus-wide cooperation.

Aside from BSU and GSA, the Asian American Student Association, Community Action Theatre Troupe, Native American Council, International Student Association, and Latino Student Organization are all planning to participate in the Halloweekend costume contest and dance party.