Diversity Day Includes Thoughtful Topics as well as Fun
Friday’s Diversity Day offered an exciting and very…well, diverse line-up of speakers and performances.
The day opened for upper school students with keynote speaker Scott Page, a U-M professor of complex systems, arguing that diversity in all fields – from biology to social science to political science – yields superior outcomes. Talking at a rapid clip, Page presented example after and interesting real-life example of the “inescapable benefits” of diversity, citing how working together in groups is the new workplace norm.
“The best groups are the ones that are the most diverse, so that’s where you can add value,” Page told students. “It’s really important for you to develop a different collection of tools from others so you have something different to bring to the table. By being different, you can make groups better.”
Page’s presentation was followed by a performance by Mady Kouyate, an African musician and storyteller who serenaded the audience with the kora, a 21-string West African harp.
Students then attended two break-out sessions, the subjects of which ranged from “Diversity in the Corporate World” to “Hip Hop is an Art Form” to “Interrupting Oppressive Speech.”
In her closing keynote address, U-M Latino/a studies professor Maria Cotera shared with students the recent history of national immigration law.
For the final activity of the day, the entire student body convened in the gym for was a concert by Gratitude Steel Drum Band, which at times had students on their feet dancing and singing (and even limboing) to songs like “Macarena,” “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Cha-Cha Slide.”
Said diversity director Nadine Hall to the crowd just before the final bell rang out in the gym: “I hope today you broadened your perspectives, learned something new and above all, had some fun.”