OU-HCOM to showcase diversity


Wednesday, Ohio University students will highlight the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s diversity at “Multicultural Extravaganza.”

OU’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association will be hosting the event from noon to 1 p.m. in Irvine 194.

“This event is very, very exciting just because this is the time we get to encourage OU-HCOM students and OU students to come together,” said Ashley McNeil, president of the Student National Medical Association. “We’re hoping for a big turnout this year.”

The event is also an opportunity to showcase OU-HCOM’s diverse student population, said Shinelle Caldwell, a second-year medical student and chair of the event.

“It’s a way to learn about the different cultures here but not through lectures, through a fun event. It brings a camaraderie to the college,” Caldwell said. “For me, it makes the learning environment more open and easier because we are a diverse school. It’s about the atmosphere it creates. There’s always something to learn.”

In the 2011 school year, 22 percent of OU-HCOM’s student population identified as black, Asian, American Indian or Hispanic — a decrease from the 2008 school year, which had only 26.5 percent of the student body place themselves in a minority group.

Alicia Boards, assistant director for multicultural programs, said she believes OU-HCOM offers many opportunities to students of different backgrounds.

“We have support centers and a lot of resources for multicultural students,” Boards said. “It’s a very welcoming environment for anyone of every race, gender or sexual orientation.”

The event will include food and present a talent show with OU-HCOM performers. It will also have a fashion show, featuring clothing from different parts of the world, including India, Morocco, Cameroon and Pakistan, Caldwell said.

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers for the student organization, though revenue varies every year, Boards said. Admission is $5 or $4 with the addition of a canned food item to be donated to Good Works.

“This event is to showcase the diversity we have at this school and all the different factors of who we are,” said Eric Questel, a first-year medical student.

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