- Nina Butts
Sharing Experiences: Olivet College’s Cultural Diversity Club
Olivet College celebrates the diversity among its student body, whether that diversity comes from a different town, city, state, or country. Since Olivet College was one of the first
colleges to offer female students and students of color the same opportunities as white male peers, diversity is a building block of the school’s 175-year history.
To expand the celebration of diversity on campus, senior Nataliya Malaydakh created the Cultural Diversity Club.
“I created it initially to kind of bring people together - no matter the culture, no matter the background - to share different experiences,” Malaydahk said.
Malaydakh’s own background also inspired her to create the club. She said, “I’m from Ukraine, and I have no family, I just have great friends, so I thought creating it and chit-chatting
would make someone feel at home, especially if they talk about their home or they talk about their experiences.”
The club’s meeting location, in the fireplace room at the Burrage Library makes for a comfortable, homey atmosphere. Students talk about experiences with different cultures, including culture shocks and similarities, while sharing snack foods from the cultures
“In Olivet College, we know each other, but I just wanted to put it out there that we can just get together and talk about culture shocks, and talk about what’s new,” Malaydakh said.
Malaydakh’s life at Olivet College was very different from her life in Ukraine, which explains the club’s com forting and supportive atmosphere.
Malaydakh said, “In America everyone is friendly or they’re trying to bring people together...in Ukraine a lot of people are just responsible for themselves only...so America changed me.”
Despite their conservative attitude, Ukrainians always show guests hospitality no matter who they are or where they came from, she said.
“When people come no matter who, we always give them food and a feast...people put everything out of their fridge to give them everything they need...so I felt like having this club
and having all the snacks from different countries - having that hospitality and kind of like showing that hospitality that my country taught me - is part of my culture that I want to bring and share experiences with,” Malaydakh said.
The Cultural Diversity Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM. The first meeting was small, with under 10 members, but Malaydakh hopes the comforting atmosphere will attract more students.