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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Cultural Awareness Week to Promote Understanding and Inclusion

Old Dominion University's Office of Housing and Residence Life, through its Diversity Initiatives Committee, will sponsor the second annual Cultural Awareness Week, Feb. 8-14.

Events during the week are designed to promote acceptance and appreciation for the complexities of identities within the ODU campus community. All events are free and open to students, faculty, staff and the general public.

"No matter your level of awareness, the week's events will allow you to deepen your understanding and walk away with some action items to help you make sure ODU is open and inclusive to everyone," said Brandon Brown, the Diversity Initiatives Committee chair and Whitehurst Residence Hall director.

Cultural Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Relations, the Student Recreation Center and student organizations, begins with its signature event, the Tunnel of Oppression.

The Tunnel of Oppression presents an interactive experience designed for attendees to address the questions: "What does it mean to be oppressed?;" "How does it feel to be oppressed?;" and "how am I oppressing others?"

"A facilitated discussion will follow, asking attendees to reflect on their experience and feelings, and how they plan to intentionally dismantle systems of oppression present in society," Brown said.

The Tunnel of Oppression will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 and Tuesday, Feb. 9 in the second floor river rooms of Webb Center.

Then on Wed., Feb. 10, Kayden Coleman, a 29-year-old transgender father and husband from Philadelphia, will share his personal story. Coleman's talk is titled, "My Body, My Truth: The Journey of a Once-Pregnant Transgender Man." Dinner and Coleman's address will be in the Hampton/Newport News Room at Webb Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Coleman's appearance is sponsored by the Old Dominion Women's Center; the Student Government Association; Safe Space; Leadership and Student Involvement; Housing and Residential Life-Diversity Initiatives Committee; Student Recreation Center; Office of Counseling Services; ODU Out; and the Spectrum Living-Learning Community.

On Thursday, Feb. 11 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., a "Love Your Body" table at Webb Center will offer activities, giveaways and games focused on promoting positive body image and available campus resources. The table is sponsored by the Student Recreation Center and the Office of Intercultural Relations.

Saturday, Feb. 13 will feature a free bus trip to Greensboro, N.C. for an interactive exploration of the civil rights movement. The bus leaves at 9 a.m. from the 49th St. bus stop beside Webb Center. Spaces are limited, so those wishing to attend should register at Monarch Link. Students can register while spots are still available until Friday, Feb. 12. The trip is limited to the first 50 students who register.

The week's events close Sunday, Feb. 14 with a performance of The Vagina Monologues at 2 p.m. at the Goode Theatre. Tickets are $10 at the Webb Center information desk.

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