Officials organized two events to help acquaint incoming freshmen and transfer students with their new peers and surroundings.
The events, Diversity Dialogues and OKConnect, occur during Stars Week, an orientation week put together by the First-Year Experience program.
First-year students will divide into small groups of about 15 for Diversity Dialogues from 1:30-2:45 p.m. Aug. 17 in rooms all across campus.
During the session, each group will discuss how diversity defines them. Conversations will cover the difference between ethnicity and culture, as well as various types of cultures, including race, sexuality and socioeconomic levels.
“Every culture is different, so we’re trying to open lines of communication by helping people understand the differences,” said Russ Tallchief, director of student engagement, inclusion and multicultural programs. “We don’t want to do away with the differences because they make everyone unique. We do, however, want to be aware of them so they don’t get in the way.”
Facilitators consist of faculty, staff and students who will go through a diversity training today. Diversity Dialogues was also a component of Stars Week last year.
OKConnect was added to Stars Week in 2015 as a way to introduce new students to Oklahoma City. Participants register beforehand and choose one of four options. Most options include an Oklahoma City attraction and a local restaurant. Registered students will meet at 10 a.m. Aug. 19 at the Team One Pavilion to break into groups and travel to their destination via bus.
This year’s options are:
- Option 1: Science Museum Oklahoma and Empire Slice House
- Option 2: Oklahoma Museum of Art and Big Truck Tacos
- Option 3: Walking food tour of OKC
- Option 4: Oklahoma History Center and Pizza 23
During the walking food tour, participants will walk around the downtown area and enjoy treats from Coffee Slingers, Packard’s New American Kitchen, Iguana Mexican Grill, and Kitchen 324. The Oklahoma History Center was added this year and attracted the most registrants.
OKConnect is led by Stars Week orientation leaders. Adelaide Ross, acting junior, and Audrey Schultz, dance junior, are the orientation leaders who organized the options.
“These girls did an excellent job marketing the event,” said Colbi Beam, First-Year Experience coordinator. “The RSVP filled up in July, when we normally still have seats left over during Stars Week.”
All incoming students were invited to RSVP for OKConnect by ranking their choice of the options on okcu.edu. About 130 students registered to participate this year.
“We want our new students to feel welcome to OKCU and the city they will be living in for the next four years,” Ross said. “By attending this event, students get to explore their new home and make friends before classes begin.”