Emersonians celebrate culture, quot;diversitilityquot;

by Beacon Staff • October 18, 2006

Emersonians defined it last week through drag queens, films, dance and food as part of Diversitility Week, a collection of cultural events sponsored by Emerson's Alliance for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone (EAGLE), AMIGOS (the Latin Student Organization), Hillel, Emerson's Black Organization with Natural Interests (EBONI) and the department of writing, literature and publishing (WLP).,If you look up the word "diversitility" in the dictionary, your search will be unsuccessful.

Emersonians defined it last week through drag queens, films, dance and food as part of Diversitility Week, a collection of cultural events sponsored by Emerson's Alliance for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone (EAGLE), AMIGOS (the Latin Student Organization), Hillel, Emerson's Black Organization with Natural Interests (EBONI) and the department of writing, literature and publishing (WLP).

Tikesha Morgan, director of multicultural student affairs at Emerson, said that while advertising the event, she chose to use the word "diversitility" to attract student interest.

"'Diversity' is such a broad term," she said in an interview.

New to Emerson this fall, Morgan had about a month to observe students and their habits before putting on the series of programs.

"[Emerson students] are artsy, creative and chatty," she said. "The academic programs here are very specialized. Students know what they want to do."

Diversitility Week kicked off on Friday with "Dragtoberfest."

In the Semel Theatre at 10 Boylston Place, "girls dressed as boys and boys dressed as girls," said Mandy Boykin, marketing/public relations coordinator for EAGLE and a sophomore marketing communication major.

Students performed lip-synching routines and dances.

"They act out what their song is about," Boykin said. "It's really very funny."

Michael Lucey, who won "Miss Emerson" last year as Kimora Diamond, a senior marketing communication major, passed "her" title down to two "kings," Katie Mueller and Laura Sisskin.

This year's champions performed the funk anthem "Car Wash" by '70s soul group Rose Royce.

"I had a lot of energy to start with, but feeling the response of the audience gave me even more," said Sisskin, a sophomore theatre studies major, about her performance with Mueller.

The audience response that was driving Sisskin's performance came from a strong student turnout.

"We had a butt in every seat," Boykin said. "The show went seamlessly. I think everyone had a great time and this year's performers were amazing."

On Sunday, EBONI held an open meeting in the Cultural Center, located in the Max Mutchnick Campus Center at 150 Boylston St.

The group, which promotes black culture and heritage on campus, also sponsored a group viewing of August Wilson's play Radio Golf, the last of Wilson's 10-play series chronicling a century of black struggle in Pittsburgh. Tickets cost only $2.50 per student.

The Office of Student Life sponsored Monday's "Get Tatted! Henna Tattooing, That Is" program from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Cultural Center.

Tuesday's programs included a reading by Chilean poet and human-rights activist Marjorie Agosin, an event sponsored by the WLP department and PRISM (Perspectives on Race, Identity, Sexuality and Multiculturalism), and a Hillel-sponsored viewing of the film Ushpizin, a humorous take on Jewish life.

Also, performance group Hips on Fire appeared in the Cabaret giving salsa dance lessons to participants.

Tuesday's events ended with "Shake Your @#$%!," an event sponsored by AMIGOS.

Wednesday marked the close of Diversitility Week with two final events.

The grand opening of the Cultural Center took place at the center's new home in the Max Mutchnick Campus Center. Various cultural foods were free for consumption.

Later that night, AMIGOS sponsored a screening of the Spanish film My Mother Likes Women.

Fliers posted around campus describe the film. A woman named Sofia gets married and raises three daughters. She wakes up one day and realizes she is a lesbian and eventually begins her first same-sex relationship. One of Sofia's daughters, Elvira, schemes to break them up by seducing her mother's partner.

Morgan said she anticipates more cultural events on campus soon.

According to Morgan, AMIGOS hosts one movie night on every third Wednesday of each month, showing movies that involve cultural stories.