While the issue of diversity on a college campus is not unknown, sometimes a light-hearted and comical take on the issue can help to put things in context.
The Activities Programming Board(APB) presented Matt Glowacki and “Diversity According to South Park and Family Guy” in the Otto Budig Theater, Nov. 11.
“Diversity is taking the time to learn from people different than yourself,” said Glowacki.
Born without legs, Glowacki, now 35, is indeed the definition of “different.”
“Focus on the person, not the difference,” said Glowacki.
By using clips from Family Guy and South Park in his lecture, Glowacki cast off the white cotton gloves of politically correctness. Instead, he urged students to stop worrying about being offensive and actually think about the issues and get educated.
Beyond the general heading of diversity, Glowacki’s presentation focused on three major aspects: “lookisms” or society and body image, “ableisms” or “Gimp-phobia” which covered disabilities, and racism.
Glowacki’s solution was simple: Education.
Glowacki related the fight for diversity to the war on terror. There are posters and announcements in airports asking for people to notify the authorities of any suspicious luggage or people. He told the audience that they need to treat diversity the same way in that they need to notify and educate people who are being hurtful.
After the presentation, Glowacki opened up the forum for students to ask any questions they wanted. Questions ranged from political and our current economic situation to asking his opinion as to which country he has seen in his travels as providing the best environment for people with disabilities. Afterwards, students lined up to shake the speakers hand and share more personal questions.
“I thought the information was useful and made me think in a new way,” said Nathan Burton, an electronic media broadcasting major.
Throughout the year Glowacki conducts over 200 diversity discussions at colleges, schools and corporations. He also manages a custom wheelchair manufacturing company, MOGO wheelchairs, and runs Glow Music, a mobile disk jockey and entertainment service. He also currently teaches wheelchair basketball and volleyball to veterans.
In 2004 he was an alternate on the US Paralympic Sit-Volleyball team and competed in the 2002 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt and 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia.
If you were unable to catch the lecture on campus, an abridged version of the program will air at 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Nov. 20 and at 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23 on Insight Cable Channel 18 .
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