LAWRENCE — Diversity and inclusion are integral to the University of Kansas’ mission and the Jayhawk community.
With that in mind, the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access (IOA) invites students to hop in the Diversity Ball Pit today and Thursday, Aug. 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside the Kansas Union.
The Diversity Ball Pit is similar to a ball pit you’d see at McDonald’s or a carnival, but with an important twist: Each ball in the Diversity Ball Pit has a diversity-related question written on it. The idea is for strangers to get into the pit, select a ball, then to get to know each other by discussing the questions written on the ball.
“The theme we’re promoting is that diversity matters,” said Jane McQueeny, IOA executive director. “While we may all be different and diverse, we share many commonalities. The Diversity Ball Pit is designed to encourage conversation in a way that promotes these values.”
Another important feature of the Diversity Ball Pit is that it’s wheelchair accessible, which ties back to the theme of diversity and inclusion.
Co-sponsoring the Diversity Ball Pit with the IOA are the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. All three units are within the Office of Diversity & Equity within the Provost’s Office.
The Diversity Ball Pit was inspired by a video produced by SoulPancake, a popular new media company that seeks to provide platforms to explore “big think” topics such as spirituality, creativity, religion, arts and philosophy.
The Diversity Ball Pit is part of Hawk Week, the official welcome week for first-year KU students. Hawk Week is designed to help students get to know one another, learn about the opportunities available at KU and get their first semester started on the right foot.
The office of IOA is designed to support a culture of diversity and inclusion at KU.