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Winter 2003 | Volume 26, Number 1 | Campus
New Student-Led Diversity Initiatives
Continue to Gain Momentum

at Seattle Pacific University in 2000, Denise Martinez was frustrated. Of Hispanic and Anglo background, she didn’t feel free to express her ethnic identity on campus. For a time, she pulled away from campus life and even considered transferring, but two things stopped her: She prized her professors in the Biology Department, and she decided that she could make a difference.

Martinez was elected multicultural senator for the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific (ASSP) in May 2000. Before her term began, she and ASSP President-Elect Emily Cochran met to discuss diversity issues. They formed a President’s Action Committee, or PAC, and changes began. “Emily and Denise shaped policy,” recalls Joe Snell, assistant director of student programs for intercultural affairs.

In the fall of 2001, the PAC sent three students — Martinez, majority student Brad Box and international student D.J. Inoue — to Calv in College for the National Christian Multicultural Student Leadership Conference. There they discovered concrete ways to work with, even lead, the University to effect change. “We got so excited that we brought all those ideas back to start here,” says Martinez.

Soon the MOSAIC cadre began, where students discussed issues of cultural and ethnic diversity, as well as ways to foster cross-cultural community on campus. By year’s end, MOSAIC was the largest cadre on campus, with dozens of students attending weekly. Working with the Office of Residence Life, two multicultural floors opened in Emerson Residence Hall. Intentionally living as a community, students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds could discuss and act on diversity issues. Connections formed between clubs and cadres, including MOSAIC, the International Justice Mission, Mu Kappa for children of missionaries, and Ohana O Hawai’i for students interested in Hawaiian Islands culture.

By Autumn Quarter 2002, incoming freshmen were welcomed to campus with MOSAIC’s original drama, “Where’s Your Mask?” The play challenges students in overcoming their natural fears of difference by learning to appreciate and respect the variety of people God has created. It was so well-received that students repeated it at the 2002 National Christian Multicultural Student Leadership Conference held at Bethel College. This year, SPU representation at the conference grew from three students to 17.

As Autumn Quarter continued, students hosted an international dinner; MOSAIC increased to 100 students; “Club SUB” débuted an international music event to raise money for the International Justice Mission; classes began in Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art; and “Where’s Your Mask?” was performed during the first Seattle Pacific Day of Common Learning. More events are planned for Winter and Spring Quarters — and next year’s student leaders are already being sought.

“True engagement can’t take place without a true understanding of diversity and cross-cultural issues,” says Snell. “If you don’t go there with students, you might as well not say you’re going to engage the culture.”

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SPU aims to take its vision to new spheres of influence and effectiveness. "I love finding those strategic, economic levers that allow us to allocate, align, realign and increase our resources — so that our vision might bear fruit,” says President Philip Eaton.

An SPU Icon
Danna Wilder Davis completed what few others ever did at Seattle Pacific: Between 1924 and 1939, she went from first grade to college graduation in consecutive years on campus.

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation
Three faculty-led initiatives received SPU’s 2002-2003 Faculty Grants for Theology and Vocation. The grants support projects that weave vocational themes into the curriculum.

Falcon Legends Hall of Fame
Six Falcon athletes become the inaugural group inducted into the Falcon Legends Hall of Fame. Their athletic success and character make them legendary individuals in Falcon sports history. [Athletics]

My Response
“I’m the father of an AIDS orphan,” says Tim Dearborn, dean of the chapel at SPU, as he recounts his teenage daughter’s trip to Uganda. There she visited an AIDS orphan sponsored by the Dearborn family. [My Response]