Housing events bring diversity

By Matt Carlson

Project R.E.D — Residents Engaging in Diversity — is a program sponsored by housing and dining that mixes fun, learning and volunteer work over three Thursdays in November.

Each week has an event, including a Fair of Nations night, Casino Night and volunteering for Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit organization in Aurora where volunteers will hand-pack meals for malnourished children around the world.

Bobbie Cole, complex coordinator for Grant Towers, said project R.E.D is “a series of three diversity-themed programs in order to help residents gain an appreciation and acceptance for diversity.”

Fair of Nations night will kick off the event at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Grant North lobby area and Grant D formal room. Activities planned for this event include food catered by DeKalb’s Mediterraneo restaurant, arts and crafts and cultural dance and music performances from campus organizations.

Cole hopes to give students the chance to gain knowledge about NIU’s diversity.

“We want residents to be exposed to different cultures; that’s one of the big goals we have for fair of nations, is to expose residents to different cultures on campus and to give students the opportunity to come and express their culture to share music, food, dance and attire,” Cole said.

Casino Night will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Stevenson Hall food court. There will be traditional casino games like blackjack, roulette and poker.

Casino Night is usually the most attended event during Project R.E.D., said Danielle Wolfgang, Grant C hall director.

“We usually have the biggest turnout for Casino Night,” Wolfgang said. “Some prizes we have are a flatscreen TV, Blu-ray player, Kindle Fire and a digital camera. We usually have 200 to 300 students for that night.”

The final event will focus on hunger and homelessness and will take place Nov. 21. This is the first time this event is being put on and is something Wolfgang is looking forward to.

“We are bringing 50 students to pack food for children around the world. It’s a new event to project R.E.D; it’s something we’re really excited about,” Wolfgang said.

Freshman accounting major Kiersten Whalum thinks highly of the new event.

“I’m most intrigued by packing food for the kids because it will help people in need,” Whalum said.

The bus that will transport students to Aurora will leave Grant North at 6:30 p.m. that evening. To sign up for the event, students should email Jasmine Harvell at [email protected].

Through project R.E.D, Wolfgang hopes to strengthen students’ awareness of diversity at and around the university.

“Diversity is something that needs to be embraced, encouraged, and [is] something that our students should take time to learn more about,” Wolfgang said.