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Synthesis Paper, Orientation Leader 2013

Katrina Herrera

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Diversity

Katrina Herrera
Florida State University Diversity in My Life What does diversity mean to me? Conclusion My Culture: Black, Hispanic, Bahamian, American

My Family: My mother and both grandparents (paternal) are immigrants

My Beliefs: Love for the environment and making a change and I am a Vegetarian

My Values: Selfless, Passionate, Committed, Caring

How am I diverse from my peers? What do I do in my daily life to celebrate diversity? What will I do as a peer leader to discuss diversity? Being diverse among peers is sometimes difficult and hard to hold onto since society probes us at a young age to be like everyone else. However, attending FSU allows me to have a want in being different and unique from my peers. Having a multi-cultural background, restricting my diet, and being a daughter and granddaughter of immigrants shows that I am diverse. "The challenge of leadership is coming to common purpose from the vast differences that individuals bring to a situation. Finding the purpose, vision, and common commitments that create a "we" from a group of individuals is the challenge of community"(Komvies, 2007). Diversity is what describes a person and their way of life and living within any type of society. It is a person's culture, values, norms, and beliefs that impacts the person's livelihood and the decisions they make on a daily basis. My Culture Immigrants in My Family Grandparents (paternal) Environmental Loving Vegetarian Living Disclaimer I am diverse in many ways from my peers, but the three things that truly show who I am are my love for the environment, my multi-cultural background, and having an immigrant mother and immigrant grandparents (paternal). I feel that these are the three main ways I am diverse from my peers because they are aspects of my life that have truly shaped me and how I live on a daily basis.

Since freshman year when I found about the Caribbean Students' Association(CSA) I have been able to celebrate diversity proudly. All throughout Kindergarten through Senior year of high school I was known as simply being a Black American. However, becoming apart of CSA has allowed me to show more of who I am and the diverse background. Currently, I am the Secretary, but have also been the Community Service chair, sophomore year, and a pageant contestant, freshmen year. We hold general body meetings (GBMs) twice a month where we have cultural awareness activities and also have discussions about the different cultures in the Caribbean and being apart of the Florida State University (FSU) community. I was able to feel more diverse among my peers with joining CSA but still found commonalities among the Caribbean people during the different events that we put on every week throughout the school year. By putting on seminars I help educate the FSU community about Caribbean people and how diverse we are even between the different island countries. In January of 2008 I became a vegetarian by my own choosing. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian meaning I eat dairy and eggs but I do not eat meat, poultry or seafood. At this point, my brother, already a Vegan, influenced me to not have meat apart of my diet anymore. I really wanted to lose weight originally, which was why I became a vegetarian, and surprisingly it was easy! But as time went by in high school, I learned more about animal rights and the inhumane living conditions brought upon by meat production from my philosophy teacher. My brother truly helped my family during his one year at home to make an impact of what we did everyday. My dad stopped buying meat and rice and instead bought tofu, vegetables and pasta. As a family, we were making a difference and my determination to bring my beliefs and ideology about being a vegetarian to FSU was increasingly large. My grandmother was born and raised in Montserrat which is a small island in the West Indies. Montserrat is known for its volcanoes that are still active. She moved to the United States, specifically New York, with her brothers and mother as a young child as they sought a better life. My grandma strived to become an American right away assimilated into the culture. However, she was among other cultures besides Americans which allowed her to hold onto her Caribbean culture. My grandfather came to the United States much later than my grandma and had a harder time of becoming a part of the American culture since he only spoke Spanish. He joined the United States Navy as a chef in order to have his living expenses paid for and to learn English. He also lived in New York and lived amongst all different types of people. I was brought up with the values of working hard based on what my grandparents went through as they came to the United States for a better life. Because my grandfather was on the ship a lot with the Navy learning English, my father was not able to learn Spanish and become fluent leading to me learning Spanish in school instead. I was not able to adapt many of my grandparent’s cultural upbringings because they were trying to become a part of the American culture so they would be accepted. A lot was lost within my own identity because of the assimilation, though my immigrant grandparents came from fruitful cultures. Mother At eighteen years old, my mother moved from Nassau, Bahamas to Miami, Florida seeking her college degree. Since then Miami was made her permanent home of residence. However, Nassau, Bahamas is only a thirty minute plane ride from Miami which led my family and I to travel back to her home country. I have two aunts and six uncles on my mothers side along with step-aunts and uncles who all live somewhere in the 700 islands of the Bahamas. My mother's side of the family grew immensely and I have over fifty cousins. My large family is the prime reason as to why my immediate family and I go back to Nassau, Bahamas. On a daily basis I am faced with the challenge of either going through the garbage and taking out that one plastic bottle or aluminum can, or thinking about what I look to others as I would go through the garbage and take out the recyclable items as standing up for what I believe. I participate in most of the FSU Sustainable Campus events and volunteer for them when they are in need. Garnet and Gold Goes Green is a service oriented group that during each of the home football games two hours beforehand walks around to all the tailgates to collect recyclable items. I proudly promote and wear the "I Bleed Garnet and Gold, But I Live Green" tank. My actions and words line up with one another as each day I try my best to model the way in being environmentally friendly. I am a female who is black American, Caribbean, and Hispanic but is simply seen among my peers as being black based on the color of my skin. During my first year at Florida State University (FSU) upperclassmen and even those in my class would ask if I was in the Center for Academic Retention and Education (C.A.R.E) Program based off the color of my skin. The C.A.R.E program in 2010 was less diverse than what has been since. Most of the students had darker skin, and because my skin was the same I was placed into that group by own peers. I am in a Florida State University community of students who are categorized as being black and also being a part of that program. I did not go through the C.A.R.E program during Summer C of my freshman year. The Caribbean Students’ Association pageant took place in February of 2011. Before joining this organization I did not express my Caribbean culture. But I learned to embrace my culture of having a rich Caribbean background that was very unique from my peers. The pageant was the first time I truly defined myself as being Bahamian and West Indian (Montserrat) in front of a lot of people and I was proud. Recently, I did a presentation about myself to my fellow Resident Assistant (RA) staff members of DeGraff Hall. Amongst them I am the only female RA who is black, Caribbean and Hispanic all in one. During my show and tell time I played a video of Junkanoo and the music played during that time. Ever since I was young my family and I would travel to the Bahamas at least once a year during the summer or winter to see my family. In the winter, we stayed for Christmas and Boxing Day which is when Junkanoo, a street parade with live music played by various dance groups, happens. Within my own staff, I am the only one who has ever experienced Junkanoo. As an RA, one of the five main tenets of Housing is Appreciation of Differences. In building an inclusive community, bulletin boards is one of the focal ways to educate and inform residents about what they do not know and to think outside of the box. My first board of the year, “Sea Past The Glass” was a fish bowl where a DeGraff Hall Castle was right in the middle of the bowl but facts about other countries were on the outside of the bowl signifying that even though FSU is a fish bowl of many different fish, there is so much more past the glass that most students do not think about on a day to day basis. Something as simple as a bulletin board put up on the wall with facts about other types of people who are different, can be the one possible way that our residence halls can continue to be diverse. As an Orientation Leader (OL) within my small groups I will promote diversity amongst my students but also in ways to where they are able to find similarities. Allowing the opportunity for my students to teach others in the group about their way of being diverse will encourage more discussion and a willing to learn. My goal for my students would then be for them to build friendships with new students and form a bond with each other that solely may last during Orientation or past their collegiate experience a FSU. I, myself will also be more than willing to show my ways of being diverse to the students in being open about my personal FSU experiences in our community. I would allow honesty in ways that the FSU community is not diverse and ask my students how they can be that change and what they can bring to our campus. Music is another way I celebrate diversity in my daily life because I listen to it every morning when I wake up and every night to put me to sleep and all the time when I study. My playlist makeup on Pandora contain a variety of musical choices from "Miles Davis Radio" to "DeadMau5 Radio" to" Contemporary Gospel/Christian Radio". Each one of these radios stem from somewhere different as they relate to my life and who I encounter. I am willing to listen to a variety of music genres as I learn about them in my Music World Cultures class and attending world music performances put on by the College of Music. Music is a universal language that can bring cultures together even if language barriers, religious, and social beliefs are different. A Sustainable Lifestyle My ways of “Going Green” may seem radical among my peers because of how passionate I am about the environment to those around me who are rarely concerned about recycling there plastic bottle or picking up trash in and around lakes. Having a major in Environmental Science is a something new at FSU as my major started my freshman year of college. Many of my peers that I came in college with were either business, education or a pre-medical major whereas I changed my major to environmental science. My major is still fairly new and does not have a large base of students who choose this major. With being apart of this major, my goal as it would not be for most scientist, is to become a teacher in the Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering (STEM) field, not to do research. Teaching civic education is very important within the elementary to middle schools as that is our next generation of students. Becoming a female science teacher with my environmental science degree is truly unique experience I want to undergo. Reference Komives, S.R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T.R. (2007). Exploring leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.
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