Diversity Leaders Celebrate 15 Years

Isabel Owens, Staff Writer

The Diversity Committee, an ASB Leadership group run by senior Anjali Bajaj and junior Erika Wolfram, is celebrating their 15th year of promoting campus tolerance through school activities and collaboration with the Acalanes Union High School District.

The committee was born as a suggestion from WASC (Western Association of School Accreditation). WASC is an organization responsible for accrediting high schools. “It was like, ‘you guys should probably become more cognizant of diversity,’ so the district committee was created, and then a diversity committee in Campo was created as well,” said Leadership advisor Dino Petrocco.

According to Petrocco, the committee is “drawing attention to the issue of diversity, people who are different ethnicities, religions, lifestyles, to make us more whole as human beings.”

Wolfram and Bajaj work to promote individuality and self-expression. “We had boat races for the second time this year, and to me that was a really big example of diversity because we had people from the Robotics Club, we had people from Leadership, we had people that I’d never seen before participate,” said Bajaj.

In an attempt to attract people who don’t normally participate in large events, such as CARE workshops and the Wall of Rejection, the committee has recently moved activities from the quad to other parts of the campus. “Last year, we did something called ‘Mix It Up.’ We had hopscotch near the library, we had 4-square and childhood playground games throughout campus,” Bajaj said.

The Diversity Committee is also responsible for attending monthly district-wide meetings with commissioners of diversity from Acalanes, Los Lomas, and Miramonte. Although these schools are often considered rivals, they collaborate with each other to organize activities. “It’s really cool because everyone’s so passionate about being involved in their school, it’s really fun to be a part of it,” Wolfram said.

“In those meetings we talk about how each month has a different topic that we’re supposed to bring onto campus. For example, October was Racism Awareness Month, and December and January were Sexual Harassment Months, so each month has a different topic that we’re supposed to integrate into school activities,” explained Bajaj.

This year, one of Bajaj and Wolfram’s main goals was to spread awareness about the true meaning of diversity. “I think that a lot of people assume that because our school is primarily Caucasian, that we’re not diverse, but people don’t realize that the word diversity has so many different connotations besides just culture,” said Bajaj.

“They think of racial diversity, but there’s so many other types of diversity, like different activities people like, different things they do after school, backgrounds that they come from, and we think it’s important to celebrate those things, because we do have diversity at Campo,” explained Wolfram.

Through work for the committee, Bajaj has discovered her passion for promoting individuality among her peers. “Mr. Petrocco came up to me and said, ‘You seem really passionate about things like this and I think you’d be great for the position,’ so going into it last year I had no idea, but as soon as I continued it really grew on me,” she said.

This is Wolfram’s first year working with Bajaj. “I went into it talking to Anjali, who’s been the diversity commissioner longer than I have, and she was really passionate about it,” she said. “I love the position, and I definitely think it’s a vital part to our school, it’s important.”

Wolfram will be left to run the committee by herself next year, and she recognizes the enormity of her job. “We’re having a board of social affairs, we’re having a board of philanthropy, I want to join in with a board that relates to diversity because I think it’s really helpful, when one person can’t go to the meeting you have someone else,” she explained.

“One thing I want to do is host a special olympics activity, possibly like a basketball game or a softball game. I’m also thinking that there’s different activities I want to do, before Thanksgiving comes I want to make all of these stars and have people write what they’re thankful for and put them throughout the school,” Wolfram said.

Wolfram has also been inspired by other schools, such as Los Lomas. “They painted this tree and with the Los Lomas colors they did their thumb prints, and I want to do that with Campo colors because it’s showing that everyone’s in the same tree, but they have different things to celebrate about themselves,” explained Wolfram.

There are significantly fewer people on the Campo Diversity Committee than other high schools, as they have boards of 5-10 people for the position. “Mr. Petrocco’s of the belief that the more succinct we are, the more responsibility we take for our actions, and therefore we get more done,” said Bajaj.

The committee, although small, manages to accomplish their goals with the help of the entire leadership class. “I think as long as we have a voice and as long as we’re active, that’s the important part. I don’t think it necessarily means we’re less interested, but we’re just trying to go about it differently,” said Petrocco. He predicts that more students will attend the district meetings next year.

“My hope is that Erika continues with this position and noticing these different aspects of diversity, rather than the stereotypical cultural diversity, because I do think that’s important to appreciate in our school,” said Bajaj.