Wayne Hosts “Idea Thursday” to Raise Cultural Awareness

Tucker Ashburn and Reagan Hudson

Wayne State College hosted “Idea Thursday” on Sept. 8 where WSC students and Wayne community members got to listen to two Wayne State students talk about their unique backgrounds and cultures.  

One of the speakers was Sean Walker, a WSC student and member of the Omaha, Winnebago and Rosebud tribes. He talked about his experience with the Native American tradition of song and dance and how it helps with his mental health while in college. Walker talked about the importance of the drum and different types of songs. Walker thoroughly discussed the community, wellbeing and feeling he and his tribe get from this tradition.  

The other speaker was Peter Mutayoba, an international student from Tanzania. His message, “From a Struggler to a Thriver,” was about how he came to America and his struggles through his time at college. He thought America was going to be like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  When he got to Nebraska, he was shocked that it was “just farmland and corn.” Mutayoba failed his fall 2013 semester, but through a healthy support system, is now finishing his master’s degree at Wayne State. 

The event was sponsored by Dr. Barbara Engebretsen and ran by her Personal Public and Global Health students. Dr. Engebretson was very happy with the result of the event, and said “For something that students put together in less than 3 weeks as we start a new year, I was very pleased, and have been amazed and humbled by their engagement and enthusiasm for this endeavor. The audience was almost 100, and after the speakers finished, most attendees stayed to ask questions.” 

Dr. Engebretsen said, “by creating a safe and inclusive environment for conversation, bringing people from all sectors together, we hope to learn ideas and establish connection that turn ideas into action.” These events are community oriented and made to bring people back together. 

The next event will be a more conversation-based event with the Wayne community. The next event will be on Sept. 22 at 5:30 in the Gardner Hall Auditorium.