As the fall semester comes to a close, the Wesley community has the opportunity to create a collaborative, evolving work of art that will reflect the seminary’s rich diversity.
In the hallways of the Trott Administration Building, students, faculty and staff will find the materials to create a mosaic paper tile that captures their personal story. They can then add that tile to a growing mosaic representing the diversity of the seminary’s population.
“You can make it anything you want,” said Karen Santiago, director of International Student Services. “You can use words or you could collage it. The goal is to represent your cultural background. Where do you come from? How do you see yourself?”
Each tile is roughly 5 inches by 5 inches. A range of craft materials are provided or participants can take their tile home and work on it more extensively.
The resulting mosaic was already taking shape before the Thanksgiving holiday. “It’s really interesting,” Santiago said. “We’ve already got everything from the forests of the Carolinas to something about Trinidad and Tobago.”
She’s hoping that a range of people from the Wesley community will participate. “We’d like to see a little bit more underneath the people that we walk by every day but who we don’t know much about,” she said. “Maybe their family history, where they came from, their background.”
This is Santiago’s first year as staff representative on the school’s Diversity Committee, which also includes members of the faculty, student body and board of trustees. “Mostly our job is to process claims when someone feels the seminary is not being diverse,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing where you hope you don’t have much to do — because that would be a good sign.”
The committee recently decided to be more proactive in its approach. “There was a strong feeling that we should do some programming,” Santiago said. “In the past, the committee helped support other initiatives. This year we decided, ‘Let’s do our own initiative and make it campus wide.’”
While the project was not purposefully timed to coincide with the recent election cycle, Santiago sees it as a healthy coincidence. “Lots of people have commented on how timely this is, and how much we all need to celebrate the diversity of our community.”
That diversity ranges beyond heritage and background to differences in theology, politics and worldview. “It’s really about wanting to know a little bit more about the person sitting next to you or passing you in the hall,” Santiago said.
Don’t miss the chance to add your tile to the Mosaic in the Trott Administration Building and celebrate the vast diversity of the Wesley family.