Campus Life asks students to leave prejudgements at the door, celebrate diversity

Juan Endara/Contributing Writer

Students are invited to come together and put aside the prejudgements that exist among genders, races, ethnicity, cultures and disabilities with the 12th annual Diversity Day hosted by Campus Life-BBC.

The event aims to bring people together to celebrate and embrace humanity by putting aside any preconceptions of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, age, nationality or disability. Guest speakers will come to talk about a variety of topics based on their own experiences, two of the speakers focus on disabilities.

“These events help society to overcome social prejudice,” said Andres Bermeo, marketing coordinator for Campus Life. “Diversity Day is a tradition at FIU, particularly at this campus.”

[pullquote]”We are trying to promote global issues and diversity by bringing speakers that have global perspectives attachable to global problems.”[/pullquote]

Bermeo said that by having guest speakers like Julie Flygare, who will educate people about narcolepsy, and Nancy Goodman, who will speak about emotional eating, will make this event one students will never forget.

Julie Flygare, who suffers from narcolepsy, explains that this is a neurological autoimmune sleep disorder in which the brain loses the ability to maintain normal sleep and wake states.

Flaygare is a leading narcolepsy spokesperson, published author, blogger and runner diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy in 2007. She received her bachelors of arts degree from Brown University in 2005 and her juris doctor from Boston College Law School in 2009.

While Flaygare is one victim of this neurological disorder, according to research narcolepsy affects one in every 2,000 Americans. Flaygare said she is honored to come to the University this year to celebrate the Diversity Day.

“I’m so excited to visit FIU to speak for the Diversity Day [and] to share my experience living with narcolepsy, a serious disease that is invisible and misunderstood in our culture,” Flygare said.

“For me, narcolepsy has been the worst and the best thing that has happened to me.”

[pullquote]”I turned my adversity on its head and decided to speak up about it, writing a memoir and becoming a national spokesperson.”[/pullquote]

Flaygare said her goal is to inspire others who have experienced adversity. “I hope to change students’ perspectives by proving that courage is contagious.”

Nancy Goodman who suffered from emotional eating disorders, is now a coach in the field by helping people throughout her blogs, author of  two books  “Surprise Me” and “It Was Food Vs. Me And I Won.”

“My goal is that every person in the room, at some point says to themselves, ‘Oh my Gosh, she’s me,’”  Goodman said

Goodman promises to not only help people who has eating disorders, but to help anyone who is dealing with an obsession on a daily basis.

“What I’ve learned is that we all have something we obsess about and it doesn’t have to be food. Once we really look behind that obsession, and pull it at the root, we find a piece of truth.”

“It might be painful, so avoiding it is certainly understandable, but that truth is a bursting source of energy and passion. It’s where all creativity gets its turn,” Goodman concluded.

“We are definitely trying to give to students a broad perspective about global issues and to help them become more sensitive about those types of issues,” said Diann Newman, co-director of Diversity Day.

According to Newman, one of the major purposes of this type of event is to help people to overcome the sensation of being rejected because they feel that they don’t belong to society.

“All students belong here and it’s important for us with so much diversity on campus to get greater awareness about our differences in spirit of having people included rather than excluded,” Newman said.

Newman said that if people don’t feel welcome, if they feel stereotyped or there is prejudice against them, they might feel like they don’t belong.

“My hope in this event, is to build in opportunities where students start talking more with each other,” Newman said.


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