Megan Schiferl

Megan SchiferlJuice Editor

Students across campus gathered on Sept. 20 to learn the meaning of Diversti-Tea. The Diversi-Tea event was presented by the Honors College in collaboration with the Common Read program.

The event, which was based on the campus-wide Common Read, Three Cups of Tea, followed the Pakistani proverb that when you first have a cup of tea with someone, you are strangers, over the second cup, you are an honored guest and by the third cup, you are family. The idea of three cups of tea was condensed into one evening of thought-provoking conversations.

Students were assigned to different tables in the Volstorff Ballroom and were presented with different questions to discuss at their tables. Members of the Honors College, campus faculty and students in Ruth Harper’s Student Development Theory class moderated the discussions.

“This is a chance for students to engage in meaningful and fun conversations,” said Tim Nichols, dean of the Honors College. “It’s a unique opportunity to listen, learn and share.”

The Diversi-Tea was the first of a series of extracurricular events designed to promote Common Read program on campus, and it was an overwhelming success. Although only about 100 students sent RSVP’s, the final crowd numbered around 350.

Bri Graff, a sophomore wildlife and fisheries major in the Honors College, helped moderate the event.

“Dr. Nichols is extremely persuasive,” Graff said. “He can always get our class involved.”

Nichols was extremely excited with how the evening went.

“We were just thrilled with the response,” Nichols said. “I was so excited that people could have the opportunity for a campus-wide conversation about diversity.”

Nichols said the event was unique because the reason for it was simply to get to know someone new. He said people rarely get together with the sole purpose of having an interesting conversation and meeting new friends.

Sally Gillman, assistant professor of counseling and human development, also helped put on the event.

“It was so exciting to see people so engaged in conversations,” Gillman said. “And there were way more people than anticipated.”

The next Common Read event is the Hunger Banquet and Community Night that will take place in the Volstorff Ballroom at 7 p.m. Sept. 29. Following the event, there will be a presentation by Dr. Robert Watrel on the Geopolitics of Central Asia Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in Dairy Microbiology 100.