UPC aims for diversity in people, events

UPC council members Lauren Sokolosky, senior in social work, Zach Bailey, senior in entrepreneurship and Arthur White, senior in marketing, welcome the audience to the Union Program Council's Season 12 of K-State Idol on March 27, 2015 in Forum Hall. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

The Union Program Council has brought entertainment to K-State since 1956. Concerts, comedy, film screenings and other events have catered to different groups within the student body. Along with diversity of events, the council tries to attract various students to serve on the committees, according the UPC website.

“As far as officers go, I would definitely say it is a fair representation of K-State’s demographic,” Zach Bailey, senior in entrepreneurship, said. “As far as who gets to be an officer, we reach out to different organizations — the LGBT Resource Center, international offices, the Black Student Union. We really try to make sure we’re reaching all corners of our campus.”

Twenty-six students run UPC’s nine committees, according to UPC’s contact information sheet. Twenty of these students are female, and 22 are Caucasian. The council is also represented by two black students, one Asian student and one Hispanic student.

“Within UPC, we are a diverse background with gender, sexual orientation, home life and traditions,” Brianna Chatmon, senior in sociology and legal communications, said. “We all have something unique about us.”

She also said the council is quick to address and fix situations where diversity is lacking.

Erika Davis, UPC adviser, said the council tries to bring diversity to its events in addition to diversity in its students.

“I don’t think it is difficult to cater to diverse groups because our campus is so diverse,” Davis said. “I think that we have plenty of resources and other student organizations we can reach out to. What I think is difficult is making sure that we’re not being culturally insensitive.”

Davis said the challenge is making sure the council is able to represent the culture respectfully and follow the customs of different cultures.

When entertainment groups from different cultures perform at UPC events, the committees often co-sponsor the event with student organizations of the same culture to attract more students. Davis said she recalled co-sponsoring a group of Native American dancers with the Native American Student Association, among other examples.

Bailey said he believes UPC is different from other campus organizations in terms of diversity because it attracts a variety of students. According to Bailey, many other organizations serve a niche, whether within colleges or majors, while UPC taps into all of the different niches.

“(Diversity) is on everyone’s radar,” Bailey said. “The best way to go about it is to embrace all the differences. From all the events UPC does, I think we really do that.”