The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs hosted an event titled Dons on the Mic on Jan. 25, where students had the opportunity to perform in the Walb Classic Ballroom.
Students and faculty were encouraged to showcase their singing, dancing, poetry, comedy, and rapping skills.
The program assistant for ODMA, Diana Mejia Bonilla, a senior health-care administration major from San Salvador, El Salvador, said the event aligned with the goals of ODMA: to celebrate diversity and promote inclusiveness.
“One of our biggest goals is to provide students with a platform where they feel comfortable,” Mejia Bonilla said, “and I think this is a good way of doing that.”
Mejia Bonilla said ODMA tries to be inclusive by reaching out to all students, faculty and staff, and creating relationships.
Justin Beckstedt, a sophomore music performance major from Fort Wayne, was the first to take the stage. He said he enjoyed the positive atmosphere as people were not afraid to be themselves.
Justin described himself as a natural performer and performed multiple acts at the event, including song covers and an original dance.
Justin said he loves all crowds, even small ones.
“I feel like it is more intimate, and people get to know each other in smaller crowds,” Justin said. “It just makes everything a little bit more exciting.”
Maggie Blackwell, a senior Spanish major from Fort Wayne, also performed. She taught the audience how to dance the merengue, a skill she said she learned while studying abroad in Mexico.
Maggie said she made a lot of friends at the event and plans on going again in the future. Like Justin, she said she liked how people could be themselves.
“They can get up there and do whatever they want and know that it is a safe space and know that people will clap anyway if it is really horrible,” Maggie said. “Or if it is really good, it’s like discovering talent you didn’t know you had.”
The night ended with a game of “Heads Up,” where around 18 audience members sat in a circle and tried to get each other to guess the word on their phone.
Both Maggie and Justin said they hope the event is advertised more in the future. Maggie said so many people do not know about the events on campus and thought if more people knew, they would come.
“It is like a bonding event for sure,” Maggie said, “especially if you are new on campus or you don’t have a place where you feel comfortable yet, this is definitely an event to come to.”
Mejia Bonilla said ODMA plans to reach out to professors and advisors who have connections with students to perform at or host the event in order to draw in a bigger crowd.
Dons on the Mic will be held again on Feb. 15 and March 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Walb Classic Ballroom.