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Event Offers Lessons on Campus' Diversity

April 06, 1999|ERIC C. SANITATE

Multicultural Day at Moorpark College has come a long way since the first one in 1991.

Ranford Hopkins, a history professor who has been involved in the event since its inception, said it was difficult to get the program off the ground. Only five other faculty members were willing to pitch in at first.

"It seemed like an impossible task . . . but it worked out the first year, and we've been growing strong ever since," he said.

Multicultural Day, to be held on campus today from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., will feature more than 60 free activities, including Japanese Taiko drummers, a Latin American guitar performance, a round-table discussion on interracial relationships and a presentation on jazz legend Duke Ellington. The public is invited to attend.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 7, 1999 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 4 Zones Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Multicultural Day-- The date and time of Moorpark College's Multicultural Day were incorrectly reported in a story Tuesday. The events will be held today, from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hopkins said he conceived the event to provide students with a greater understanding of the wide array of cultures represented on campus.

"It increases understanding among us to facilitate better human relations," he said. "It serves to create a feeling of humanity [for] each other."

While classes are not officially canceled for the event, the college's Office of Instruction has recommended that classes be recessed to allow students better access to the activities.

"There is a Disneyland, carnival-type atmosphere that is couched in an academic, experiential format because the thrust is educational," Hopkins said. "There is music, there is food, there is laughter--but first of all there is learning taking place about cultures from around the world."

Sociology professor Cynthia Barnett said the event's added element of fun also makes it more useful as a learning tool.

"Too often we follow the traditional mold of being stuck in the classroom and being the passive learner," she said. "This is a way for people to learn and to be actively involved and see applications of things they learn in a textbook or lecture."

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