The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Molly Birch
Molly Birch
Social Media Editor

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TRADITION — Established in 1979, the Moosemen hold the distinction of being NMUs oldest campus club.
Moosemen rugby embracing tradition with new season underway
Caden SierraSeptember 22, 2023

Conference offers lessons on diversity

The 2008 UNITED Conference is set to take place next week, educating and informing students and staff alike on diversity.

The UNITED Conference starts on Sunday, Sept. 21 bringing NMU students together through five different segments: diversity, film, dance, art and research. This is an opportunity for students to learn about different cultures and diversity through many different outlets, said Ruth Watry, an associate professor of political science who is speaking at the conference. Watry will be doing a presentation entitled, “Diversity, Affirmative Action, and African-Americans” on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms.

“Our students get a much more realistic view in this setting. We’re not doing it to sell advertising space, we’re doing it for the cultural benefit,” Watry said. “It ties into our university’s goals, in terms of internationalization, the intellectual experience with the students, and it’s fun with the films and the dances.”

Watry will be discussing the issue of race and diversity, focusing mainly on African Americans.

Story continues below advertisement

“I did a study, and whites who had a felony history were more likely to get a (job) interview than blacks,” Watry said.

Watry first studied the topic of affirmative action and African- Americans for a psychology colloquium she presented four years ago, but before that she said she hadn’t given the subject much thought. Since then, she has submitted her name for presentations and speeches on this topic.

“Part of the underlying message is that as good as things are we still have a lot of racism,” she said. “Affirmative action is a good way to create a level playing field especially when people have pre-existing ideas about a group.”

A presentation also involving ethnicity, but narrowing the focus to culture in the Upper Peninsula, will be given by Dan Truckey, Curator of the Beaumier Heritage Center whose presentation entitled, “History and Cultures of the Upper Peninsula,” is on Monday, Sept. 22, in the Great Lakes Rooms at 2 p.m.

“I’m going to be talking about ethnicity in the Upper Peninsula and also about the Heritage Center and what are our goals and activities are,” Truckey said. “Our mission at the center is to celebrate the culture and ethnicity in the area, including the Native American culture.”

Truckey noted the value of having a conference that helps students learn about and embrace diversity.

“It’s important to see different points of views and see the commonalities between all different cultures,” Truckey said. “People can find some common ground which may assist them a little bit differently in life.”

It is Truckey’s first year speaking at the conference, but he is very excited to be a part of it, he said. In speaking, he hopes to bring forth the Beaumier Center’s mission of discussing the different people in the Upper Peninsula and what they’ve contributed to the culture. He also hopes students will take new perspectives about culture and diversity.

“[The conference] will help them make better judgments’ about how a society should be run,” Truckey said. “That’s part of being in a university, getting a more universal perspective of society.”

The conference is also focused on getting students to acquire new perspectives through their learning. Jill Protzel, a high school teacher from Chicago who is now a graduate assistant attending NMU to attain her masters in special education, is doing a presentation titled, “The Impact of Travel on Student Learning.” It will take place Monday Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. in The Great Lakes Rooms.

“I’m going to be talking about the aspects of learning that are hit upon when traveling,” she said. “[Learning] is so amplified when students are on a traveling experience, be it a trip to the zoo, or in my case, trips to France. ”

For four of the six years that Protzel taught in Chicago, she took her students to France. She will be discussing those experiences and how it affected her students’ learning, especially when she took students to the beaches of Normandy to learn about World War II.

“I’m going to share my experiences with that, and hopefully convince more people to take the chance [to travel], because the rewards are seemingly never-ending, not just to the students,” she said.

The idea for the UNITED Conference is amazing for students to learn about other people and cultures, she said.

“It’s just such a great idea being in the U.P.,” Protzel said. “There’s the strong chance of there not being a lot of diversity, culturally being as secluded as we are up here, so everybody gets the chance to learn something new.”

More to Discover