Feb. 9, 2018
Flash Mob Entertains Central Students in Honor of Campus Diversity
Central Washington University students, staff, and faculty received a big surprise during the noon hour Thursday, when a large flash mob unexpectedly broke out in the Student Union and Recreation Center.
Entirely conceived and executed by CWU students, the performance was a way to celebrate diversity on the Ellensburg campus – and tout Central being named the most diverse university in Washington state for the third time in four years.
Student organizers also wanted to raise awareness of an effort to fund and establish a multi-cultural center on Central’s Ellensburg campus.
“This should be one of the [univerisity’s] top priorities,” said CWU student and event logistics coordinator Myrinda Wolitarsky. “It’s not just for students from historically-marginalized backgrounds, it’s for all students so we can grow, learn, and become more well-rounded by learning more about each other.”
Wolitarsky was among the 126 participating students representing the diversity of CWU’s student body and programming. The CWU cheer and dance teams, Student Dance Association, along with students from all academic programs were represented in the multifaceted musical number.
Music was purposely chosen from Disney’s film, “High School Musical (HSM).” For most of CWU’s student body, HSM was popular during their pre-teen years and the mascot from the movie and Central is the Wildcat. By pairing this together, organizers hoped the music would evoke nostalgia, excitement, and Wildcat pride.
“When you watch the movie and the cast, they are literally a rainbow of diversity,” said CWU student and event creative director Nenay Norawong. “We wanted to reflect this as well.”
Participants secretly practiced the event’s orchestration for more than three months, including many evenings of late-night choreography and dance rehearsals. The finished product was seven minutes, but the lasting impact is immeasurable.
“We know our campus is very diverse—we have diversity of religion, veteran status, you have ability, ethnic background, age, those with children, international students —all of those different aspects add into the diversity of our school,” Wolitarsky said.
The finale showcased students descending down the staircase holding placards that spelled out CWU’s motto: You are Welcome Here.
“No matter who you are, how you identify, or anything else… you are welcome at Central Washington University,” Wolitarsky said.
CWU earned the the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the third time. CWU is the only four-year institution in the state of Washington to earn the award, which recognizes higher education institutions that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
As of fall 2017, students of color comprise nearly 33 percent of CWU’s student body, with enrollment of Hispanic students at nearly 15 percent. About 92 percent of CWU students are Washington residents.
Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484, Dawn.Alford@cwu.edu.