Mardi Bergen, Indiana University East communication and theatre senior lecturer, received the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural and Diversity Enhancement Award Thursday, January 17. Bergen received the award during the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at IU East.
Each year the award is given to either staff or students who have enhanced diversity and multiculturalism at IU East both inside and outside the classroom. The Multicultural Affairs Committee at IU East asks for nominations from the campus. Nominees submit a statement to the committee about their work and how it promotes the goals identified with the award. The award winner is then chosen by the committee and announced to the campus during the celebration.
Bergen has utilized her instruction time in the classroom to incorporate King’s legacy through the study of the “I Have a Dream” speech. She has encouraged her students to study a culture other than their own and to speak up for what is ethically right even when they may be afraid. Previously, Bergen and IU East faculty member, Faye Price, established a mini-summer camp to promote a welcoming academic environment for at-risk children of all backgrounds.
Outside of the classroom, Bergen and David Hogg, Richmond resident, researched the Richmond community and its rich heritage as part of the 2005 Bicentennial Celebration. The result was “Reflections and Roses,” a play written, directed and publicized by the pair and performed on the Townsend Community Center stage. “Reflections and Roses” acknowledged and honored the contributions of 15 distinctive cultures in Richmond.
Bergen established the Hometown Hero Award. She is a member of the Union Literary Institute Preservation Committee and former member of Community Builders. She supported Study Circles and “The Ripple Effect” which studied Jewish Culture through community discussions, reading, theater, art, and public speakers.
Currently, Bergen is collaborating with Sheila Armstead, clinical assistant professor of Social Work at IU East, on “Building Creative Communities” through theater and other social behavioral and ethical efforts toward understanding, acknowledgement and inclusion for all.
Teresa Henderson, foreign language lecturer, and Charles Satterfield, a student majoring in Social Work, were also nominated this year.