Hundreds of students and staff from Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus gathered at the Pit on Monday afternoon to talk about the Elephant in the Room.
It was part of the education assistant and community support worker program students’ annual Celebration of Diverse Ability event.
The free afternoon fair on Monday included information booths, music, a graffiti wall, crafts corner, food, face painting, live performances, and much more.
This year’s theme addresses the “elephant in the room,” symbolizing the difficult, big topics that society avoids discussing. Year after year, this event provides a safe space where everyone can come together and celebrate inclusion and diversity.
“For the last 12 years, folks from around the Kootenay Boundary have been coming together to authentically celebrate diversity,” says instructor Jane Green. “Our students work tirelessly to create a welcoming party, and it’s always a lot of fun — music, cake, great activities and perhaps most importantly, a chance to connect and understand how much we have in common.
“When we shift from judgment to curiosity, we discover treasure buried in all of us. This annual event allows for that treasure to be showcased and celebrated.”
College president Angus Graeme says the day’s events are a great learning experience for staff and students, and a great place to make connections.
“The diversity and inclusion initiative at the College is a big part of our day-to-day work, making sure the community knows this is a place they can gather for events like this and bring what they have to offer,” he says.
“The students take a lead at organizing the event every year and it’s really to profile all of the community partners we work with to support citizens, communities and diverse groups in Castlegar and across the region.”
Students have been hosting this event for over a decade as part of their planning class, welcoming approximately 200 people each year.