NSights Blog

Unity in Diversity

Join the Graduate Student Association for Unity in Diversity 2017

Pop quiz. Which of these do you agree with?

  1. Diversity has a well agreed upon definition.
  2. Diversity is well understood by everyone, equally.
  3. If you are diverse, then you understand all of diversity.

A few years ago, I would have checked all of these statements as 'agree.'

In the past, I have considered myself well experienced in diversity and all things related. I checked all the boxes of the typical picture of diversity: an immigrant, a Sikh, one of very few females in her field, etc. Or so I thought. I knew all the negatives of stereotyping very well because I had been judged due to my differences. Or so I thought. I had nothing else to learn about diversity. Or so I thought.

I did not understand people seeking a platform to convey their differences. Did they not know that I too have diverse experiences – so why did I need to hear about theirs? Did they not know diversity is well understood and well defined? Over the course of many interactions with people of various backgrounds I began to realize I did not understand their diversity experiences simply by having my own.

How could my experiences tell me everything there is to know about the experience of a wheelchair user? How could my experiences tell me everything there is to know about the experiences of a human struggling through a hidden illness? What could I know about others without listening to their experiences?

I realized that I could not dismiss another's diversity because of my own. I could, however, use my experiences to empathize.

Of course, without the opportunity to have conversations with people of different backgrounds, or a constructive environment in which I could grow, I may have never reached such a point of understanding and willingness to listen to others. This is why I am proud to be a part of the planning for Unity in Diversity 2017.

The Graduate Student Association established UID in 2016 to promote unity through an understanding of differences.

Through UID, the GSA hopes to provide both a platform for individuals to voice their experiences and an environment for individuals to listen, empathize, collaborate with fellow attendees and come out knowing more about the community we live in.

UID shows that unity does not mean assimilation; however, uniting despite our differences is what drives us forward, onto new ideas, technologies and advances for the future.

Attendees of UID 2017 can expect 5 excellent speakers, each presenting their experiences with diversity and stereotypes. Additionally, we will have a display of traditional cultural attires and practices, a diverse array of cuisines, and a space to meet new friends and colleagues. UID 2017 will be held March 29 at 6 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms.

Whether you agree with all the statements from the pop quiz at the beginning or not, there is always more to learn. I hope everyone will take something from UID 2017 and sincerely hope you can join us for an evening to celebrate our diverse community.

Amandeep is a first year graduate student at UNR in the Department of Physics. She received her undergraduate education from Sonoma State University in California, graduating with distinction. Amandeep’s interests include reading, cooking, studying the Universe and how everything it works!

Amandeep Gill