Who knew tamales were good with a side of diversity?
On Thursday, June 7, Dr. Liliana Conlisk Gallegos’ Communication Studies students put on a multimedia showcase called ‘Our San Bernardino, Nuestro’ where the diversity of California State University, San Bernardino was presented, along with personal testimonies.
“They were discussing a lot of issues of ethnicity, race, and overall judgement on appearance,” remarked Andy Guzman, a 23-year-old American studies major. “I myself deal with a lot of that judgement.”
Through the use of traditional and newer media, students were able to capture videos of what other students on campus thought made their university so diverse.
The gathering was held in an interactive classroom where five TV’s throughout the room displayed a video of personal stories discussing each individual's cultural upbringing. Tamales and Mexican-style popsicles added to the flavor of the multicultural showcase.
At some stations participants could wear headphones and listen to a podcast. At another, virtual-reality goggles that took viewers on a 360-degree journey awaited others. The various media created by the students took the place of a traditional exam and research paper component a traditional classroom setting might offer.
“The 3D immersive technology was innovative, I feel like that has never been done here and also the tablets had some pretty unique 360 angles,” said Luis Esparza.
Thursday’s event in the high-tech classroom counted as a final exam feature for the class--which was taught using experimental media methods. “It invites creativity,” said Conlisk Gallegos. “[This type of] classroom helps students have a different mindset when they come in.”
Many of the community members and students who were in attendance came from different backgrounds and cultures. Some guests noted that they went through the same issues as the ones presented in the videos.
“I thought it was a very powerful event,” exclaimed Luis Esparza, a graduate student at CSUSB. “Especially for the folks on campus who have similar experiences.”
“I think it is good for San Bernardino students showing support for this cause,” said Melody Akelarre, another graduate student at the university.
“For some student projects I think they did a really good job on them,” expressed Anthony Dominguez, a student of Dr. Conlisk Gallegos. “We were using the 360 camera, a new technology for us, and I wasn’t expecting much quality from that, but after seeing it in the VR headset it actually looked really good.”
Andy Guzman stated, “There was a few things that should be improved, but I was really happy overall with the narrative qualities.”
In order to develop this story, student journalists in the class worked closely with a visiting veteran journalist. They learned about Associated Press style writing, and how to approach stories using different types of leads.
The experienced reporter, Richard Contreras first worked as a journalist in 1993, back when there was no digital photography, and cut-and-paste techniques were the everyday norm. Over the years, he has trained journalists who have moved on to work in the field.
A San Bernardino native, he is passionate about what goes on in the community and has his own take on diversity within the journalism field.
“There’s so much opportunity for journalists of color today because readers want this from that unique perspective,” explained Contreras, 47. The resilience of San Bernardino is the backbone that will bring it a bright future. We must keep telling these stories."
Overall, the Our San Bernardino, Nuestro showcase was successful in portraying the diversity within CSUSB’s community.
The campus is unique in many ways and the cultural backgrounds that each individual encompasses makes it profound.
The event was sponsored by Kenia’s Sweet Treats, Ana’s Kitchen, La Michoacana, TCCC (Transcultural Commons Collective), CSUSB College of Arts and Letters and The Coyote Pack.