September 22, 2005

The secret revealed. Yawn.

A little over a week ago, I posted about a cryptic poster campaign on the campus of the University of Waterloo, my alma mater, in which posters with oddball text such as "2,7733 People" were plastered all over campus. At the time, I speculated that it had the earmarks of yet another Campus Crusade thingummy.

However, today's Daily Bulletin reveals the truth:

A "diversity" campaign is to be launched on campus Tuesday, organizers are announcing.

Sponsored by the Federation of Students and UW's student life office, the campaign -- first mentioned publicly last winter -- is intended "to promote a campus environment where differences are openly explored, celebrated and understood".

It's a little anticlimactic, n'est-ce pas? "Celebrate diversity" is arguably the most banal slogan ever heard over the last, say, 20 years or so. Certainly it wasn't worth all the anticipation.

When I arrived in Waterloo in 1989, I had grown up in a smallish town in northern Ontario, probably the most homogeneous society I have ever lived in, but at the time it was pretty much all I knew apart from what I saw on television. Talk about culture shock: I was thrust literally overnight into an environment where you could identify three different languages being spoken within earshot at the breakfast table. And as I started meeting and becoming friends with classmates, it wasn't long before my regular "study gang" included Chinese, Sri Lankan, and others who obviously were not very close relatives.

Diversity awareness? Heck - by this point in my first year, I was experiencing diversity overwhelming. If someone had launched a diversity campaign back in 1989, I would have thought it made about as much sense as a gravity campaign.

The official campaign Web site, incidentally, is here, although at this point it appears to be in a slight state of undress.