What do the rights of gay students, the history of immigration, and the importance of positive body image in women have to do with one another?

The answer is easy. They are the foci of projects proposed by three exceptional groups of students this year, all of whom became recipients of the University’s first ever Diversity Grant initiative.

As a writer who is truly concerned about the lack of diversity on our campus, as well as truly inspired by the projects that have been proposed, I felt the need to elaborate.

It is apparent by the caliber of ideas presented that these bright Fairfield elites all seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the hot topics in our society, their hearts beating for causes that continue to call for attention both on our campus and throughout our culture.

The Fairfield Roots Awareness Project (FRAP), sets out to film a documentary highlighting the history of immigration surrounding our campus, while also constructing a map that offers a visual of the diverse places that our students, faculty and staff have their origins.

The students involved hope to shed light on the importance of integration and cultural exchange, and encourage people to look at current immigration issues from a more sensitive scope if you will.

The girls involved in Project Peg will use the power of expression to impress upon our campus just how vital it is for women in our society to value themselves for more than their outward appearances, to truly feel beautiful, to be enough.

These young women intend to create a presentation that will incorporate theater, poetry, media studies, visual artistry, etc.

In an age when there is so much pressure on women to be a certain dress size, Project Peg gives men and women the opportunity to reflect on the harsh realities of our culture.

Lastly, the third group addresses THE lives of gay and lesbian Fairfield students.

The students involved hope to uncover the attitudes and behaviors at the University towards and concerning students who identify themselves as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (GLBT) through the production of a documentary, as well as statistics gathered from a campus-wide survey.

These students also hope to change any negative attitudes that may exist at Fairfield and create a safe space for GLBT students on our campus.

Their ultimate goal is to incorporate a gender studies minor into Fairfield’s curriculum.

In addition to the three winners, there are several other groups who intend to go through with their proposals, even though they did not receive a grant. One such group has begun production on a literary/art magazine known as “The Cream Filling” that will certainly bring some artistic liquid to our dry university atmosphere.

Our campus, as a whole, has so much to be proud of in all of the students who were honored with grants merely a week ago. We have cultivated leaders who bravely have taken a step outside of the box in an effort to change our campus for the better.

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