| Program: || Mosaic Initiative, W. Hartford, CT |
| Contact(s): || Lon Seiman, Student Body President: (860)-768-4775 |
| Purpose: || To reduce isolation between different campus groups by sponsoring events that bring people together |
After a series of incidents at the University of Hartford revealed that there were some tensions between different student groups, the administration sponsored a number of diversity workshops in 1996. A number of student government leaders thought that the appreciation of diversity on the campus would be further improved by a student-led effort to bring together students from disparate communities on the campus. The Mosaic Initiative attempts to do so by subsidizing the creation of informal social events that are co-sponsored by student groups who may not typically interact.
In its first year of operation, the Mosaic Initiative received a small allocation from the student government. The initiative distributed these funds in six grants of $500 each. Applications for the grants had to come from three or more organizations who are jointly planning a social gathering or other event. At least one of the organizations could not have previously co-sponsored events with the other two groups. While several of the events funded by the Mosaic Initiative have allowed for small, intimate gatherings between organizations, others included larger and more broad-based participation. For example, the Music and Arts Management Association, the Office of Multicultural Education, and Nationes Hispanics Unitas co-sponsored an African Drum workshop that included about 35 students from very diverse cultural backgrounds. On the following night, these students and teachers conducted a drum performance for the campus community. In March 1998, a Freedom Seder was attended by a multicultural group of about 40 students to commemorate the search for personal and political freedom by students of color, Jews, and women.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Student government leaders report that there has been a decline in the number of group-related tensions at the university, and that potentially counter-productive events are handled more cooperatively by student leaders because they often have some previous experience with each other. The funding of the project has increased to $7,000 for the 1998-1999 academic year. Organizers of the project plan to expand their funding to include dialogue sessions between disparate student groups.