This archived article was written by: Vivika Corona
Upstairs, in the JLSC in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) lays an array of colorful beads, each with an individual meaning. Each of the beads represents an identity for students to claim. Students can claim these identities by creating a personalized pin out of the provided beads and safety pins.
Alex Anderson, Vice President of Student Services, brought this idea to the CDI after a conference known as NACA. This last year, there were many presentations and ideas on how to promote diversity on campus. Upon seeing the beads used there, Anderson knew she had to bring it to USU Eastern. She remembers thinking, “This can work anywhere and would be able to help so many.”
Anderson first began helping students create their own pins about 8 weeks ago. Students would pick out the beads that represented their identities; a light pink one that represents the latinx or a grey bead one for bisexuality. She welcomes anyone and everyone create their very own. “It really just helps open your eyes to what your main identities are and what other people’s may be,” Anderson said.
Since starting, there have been varied responses. Many of the questions centered around what different identities, such as non-binary and cis gender, mean. Anderson welcomes these questions. “I love answering, because the CDI’s goal is to create safe spaces for students to question and learn.” The goal of the beads is for people to understand their, and other’s, identities better. “If we can understand why we feel some way, or where in our past an opinion stems from, then we can better understand someone else,” Anderson said.