NMU is UNITED in diversity

Northern Michigan University celebrates diversity in many different forms at its annual UNITED Conference.

The eighth annual event got underway this morning at the University Center.

One of the presentations was from a Native American artist about what he calls ‘lowbrow art’, so the conference covers areas we may not think of when ‘diversity’ is talked about.

“We define ‘diversity’ quite broadly, so we have different tracks at the UNITED conference,” NMU assistant professor of education and conference organizer Dr. Judy Puncochar said. “We have diversity in terms of food and film, art, music, research, teaching, service.”

One presentation concerned K-through-12 education. Even in regions like the U.P., where ethnic diversity can be lacking, diversity in schools is found in areas we often don’t see. “There’s diversity in terms of religion, sometimes language, background, educational background, so be aware of  the fact that not everyone has the same experience as you and be curious about it,” Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

For the purposes of the conference, ‘UNITED’ stands for ‘Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity’.

Anyone wanting to know more about the conference’s remaining events can find a complete rundown of them on the UNITED website.