The first “Mix it Up Day” took place on Thursday, Nov. 19, in Saga. Seeking to bring diversity programming to students in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere, William Smith sophomore Maggie Smith and junior Gabrielle Perez created this event, which aims to encourage students to eat lunch and dinner with fellow students selected at random. By drawing a number that correlates to a table in Saga, students sat with a group of people outside their usual dining companions-those from different class years, social and cultural backgrounds.
“We discussed some great solutions to help raise awareness of the diversity on campus and encourage the community to celebrate it,” explains Smith. “A good first step toward bringing about this change is by giving students the opportunity to interact with others they may not normally talk to otherwise.”
Perez, the Prime Minister of the Caribbean Student Association and Smith, a member of the William Smith crew team, led the event along with members of the cultural clubs. Organizers hope this will be an important step in healing wounds incurred in the past two weeks by bringing about positive change on campus.
Like Trayless Tuesday, Mix it Up Day was a voluntary event in the dining hall. There was seating reserved for the event and seating set aside for those who did not wish to take part. Those who participated picked a number from a basket that indicated their table. Volunteers were on hand to help explain the event, distributed numbers and facilitated conversations at the tables if requested. Cards on the tables with conversation-starting questions gave groups the option of more structured interaction.
Perez and Smith hope that Mix it Up Day will continue on a monthly basis. A number of ideas for the future have already been suggested, including inviting the faculty and staff for the lunch portion, having a different cultural club or team take turns leading it every month, and having prizes, raffles, T-shirts and pins.
“This event is vital to creating the change that the Hobart and William Smith students deserve,” says Perez.