West Coast University Diversity Committee
Christina Alabastro (Chairperson) and Dr. Anvarizadeh, eighth and ninth from left in front row.
The West Coast University (WCU) COTAD Chapter was founded in 2017 under the leadership of COTAD Vice Chair and co-founder Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh. In the year that the Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been up and running, it has grown to include 28 enthusiastic members! The focus of the WCU Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to promote inclusivity and cultural humility among students and others through in-depth dialogue and engaging events. Through the Diversity Committee’s Fall 2017 Open Mic Night, WCU OT students were able to gain a sense of unity as they came together to appreciate what made each showcased culture unique.
In November 2017, the committee held an Open Mic night, which was a unique opportunity for WCU OT students to celebrate, share, and teach their peers art forms, dances, and other unique to their cultures. Each performance began with a video or live demonstration and ended with audience members being invited to participate and put their newly-learned skills on display! Every audience member actively joined in each activity, including Dr. Anvarizadeh. The event was a lively success, and the variety of acts truly showcased the beauty, diversity, and talent amongst the student participants.
Ultimately, by immersing themselves in activities and discussions related to their individual and shared cultures, student and faculty participants developed their cultural proficiency and gained a greater knowledge and respect for their unique cultures and each other. In the future, the committee is planning to host a second Open Mic in July 2018 and develop community service opportunities geared towards serving Los Angeles’ homeless population.
To learn more about starting an official COTAD chapter at your OT/A program or making the most of a COTAD chapter that has already been formed, contact Arameh Anvarizadeh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to Christina Alabaastro, OTS for developing this article and sharing photos.