Students express their diversity by tie-dying T-shirts, other clothes


Olivia Swenson-Hultz

Dashawn McCray, a freshman sociology major, applies red dye to a T-shirt at Tie-Diversity in the South Quad on Monday afternoon.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz, News Editor

Students gathered in the South Quad to celebrate their diversity through tie-dying T-shirts and other articles of clothing at Tie-Diversity Monday afternoon.

This marked the beginning of Social Justice and Diversity Week, which consists of four different events that are organized by the Residence Hall Association.

Participants were able to choose between five different colors to express their different facets of diversity.

White T-shirts were provided to students, but they were welcome to bring additional items to use for the event.

Amidst the clusters of students working on crafting their new apparel was Katelyn Olsem, a junior special education major who had just placed her multi-colored T-shirt into a plastic bag to take home, said she saw the five different colors available as an opportunity to express how diverse a person can be.

“I have a disability and I’m part of the LGBTQ community, so it’s nice to be able to spread awareness and represent who you are through events like this without feeling the need to hide it,” Olsem said.

Dashawn McCray, a freshman sociology major who was in the process of wringing out his shirt doused in different colors to create a splotchy-red design, said he wanted to participate in Tie-Diversity so could have an opportunity to show his creativity.

“I love colors and I’m a racial minority who’s part of the LGBTQ community, so I thought this was a good opportunity to get involved on campus and spread awareness about diversity,” McCray said.

Ashley Wheaton, a senior biological sciences major and vice president of community engagement for the RHA, said since they had many different colors available, students could chose the options that worked best for them based on whether they were a racial minority, part of the LGBTQ community or any other demographic.

Natalie Santillan, a sophomore early childhood education major who was applying pink and blue dye to her shirt, which was wrapped in rubber bands to create a splattered effect, said she was drawn to colors at the table where the tie-dying was taking place and then decided to participate when she read about what the activity stood for because she knew that she could relate based on her own diversity.

“This is a good way for students to come together and realize they’re not alone and supported through the Eastern community,” she said.

Lauren Bergholz, the complex director of residential life who helped to organize the Tie-Diversity, said this is a traditional event that is supposed to show students how different and unique each of them can be.

“They picked the different colors based on what they meant to them,” she said.

Katelyn Nichols, a sophomore psychology major, said she was excited for the opportunity to tie-dye a T-shirt in addition to being able to show the Eastern community diversity is important.

“I’m glad we’re promoting diversity on campus because we’re not all the same and our differences help us come together as students,” she said.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected].