The Hall Council Inclusivity Advocates (IAs) will host a series of events April 15-19 for the annual “Week of Intersectionality,” this year titled “Bridging the Hill.” The IAs hope to explore issues surrounding identity and celebrate diversity on campus.
The IAs intend to pursue a similar mission to the one they themselves promote throughout the year. IAs advocate for “celebrating and learning about different identities on campus,” Ellingson IA Tanaka Khondowe ’22 said
The events will begin Monday, April 15 with a chapel talk on inclusivity and intersectionality at St. Olaf. Later on Monday, there will be a spoken word performance on race, gender, sexuality and social justice in Viking Theater.
On Tuesday, April 16, the IAs will host an event titled “Identity 101,” that will discuss issues surrounding identity and intersectionality. In addition to focusing on different aspects of identity, the event will examine how people have multiple coexisting identities, Khondowe said.
“We are going back to the basics of identity, that’s why we called it Identity 101, and really explaining how the different identities play out in society, in the workplace and how we can embrace that,” Khondowe said.
Wednesday will feature a photo campaign titled “Humans of St. Olaf,” where the IAs will use photography to share students’ stories about identity. The IAs hope to post the pictures on the “Humans of St. Olaf” Facebook page. On Thursday, the IAs will host a discussion of global issues over coffee and snacks at an event titled “Global Café.”
“It’s going to be a bunch of musicians just playing creatively and just mashing up and mixing different kinds of music genres.” – Tanaka Khondowe ’22
“We just sit around, grab a coffee, grab some cookies and talk about global issues and how they’re impacting different societies across the globe,” Khondowe said.
The week’s finale will be a “Music Mash-Up” at the Pause Mane Stage that will feature a band of student musicians playing a medley of songs from different genres. The event aims to celebrate diversity through music.
“It’s going to be a bunch of musicians just playing creatively and just mashing up and mixing different kinds of music genres,” Khondowe said. “We are representing diversity through music because we believe that music can capture and express identity and its complexities, different complexities that we find in different identities.”
Khondowe emphasized that the week is especially important because many people think they know enough when it comes to issues of identity and diversity, and some do not see the utility of IAs and similar positions.
“We don’t want to talk about race anymore, we don’t want to talk about sexuality anymore,” Khondowe said. “We have been bombarded with a lot of information, so we sometimes think we know when we actually don’t.”
Khondowe further emphasized that the events are increasingly relevant as St. Olaf becomes more diverse. Khondowe mentioned the large number of nations represented at St. Olaf as an example of the diversity this week will celebrate.
“Within those countries represented, we have different people that identify in many different ways, and we felt that embracing that diversity is important and that people should learn about the diversity that we have on campus,” Khondowe said.