Institutional Diversity creates community partnership with Minnesota

Institutional Diversity creates community partnership with Minnesota’s only professional black theater

Inclusiveness is crucial to growing and sustaining successful community partnerships. Reciprocity in the context of diversity, or bridging boundaries between diverse communities, requires mutual understanding and appreciation of differences. Without the presence of these essential qualities, reciprocity will be shallow, stereotypes reinforced and power dynamics between the community and university clearly tilted in the direction of the university. For reciprocity to fully exist, universities must rethink their roles in the community and the meaning of university-community partnerships.

A major goal of the Office of Institutional Diversity is to not only create inclusive community partnerships but also to make sure reciprocity is central to the role of this office and the partnering organization. The possibility of truly realizing the principle of reciprocity and appreciation of diversity depends upon the ability to sustain relationships and develop ongoing partnerships between the university and community organizations – this includes arts organizations as well.

Our new partnership with Penumbra Theater is reflective of this principle. As we begin our new school year, the Office of Institutional Diversity and STAR have partnered together to provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to participate in a free drawing for tickets to see Penumbra’s season opening performance of August Wilson’s award-winning play “Fences.” Registration stations will be located on the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses Sept. 10-15. All students and employees interested in this free drawing should deposit their tickets at the following registration stations: St. Paul Book store, Murray-Herrick Campus Center Information Commons, Multicultural Student Services, Business Office cashier window, Life-Work Center, Law School second floor, School of Education-Keffer Library, and Food for Thought. The drawing to announce ticket winners will be held Tuesday, Sept. 16, for the matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21.

During the third annual CommUNITY Week celebration, the Office of Institutional Diversity will host an interdisciplinary panel about the play (“Fences”) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1. The Penumbra Symposia series is presented in partnership with local colleges and universities. A panel of experts from St. Thomas, Macalester and the University of Minnesota will engage in a lively and informative discussion brought to light by the play. Joined by scholars, community leaders, artists, activists and students, they continue the dialogue about how performance and critical thinking can interact to give new insights into some very old issues. The event is free and open to the public.

All Tommies are encouraged to register for free theater tickets! More information about Penumbra Theater and Fences can be found on the theater's official Web site.

More information about the Office of Institutional Diversity, can be viewed here.