Mix It Up at Lunch: Not Just for Kids!

mix it up at lunchThis fall marks an important anniversary for students, faculty, staff and administrators at the University of West Georgia (UWG). They’ve been “mixing it up” for a decade now as part of Mix It up at Lunch Day, Teaching Tolerance’s international campaign encouraging students to identify, question and cross social boundaries by sitting with new friends at lunch.

At UWG, 580 people participated last October. They joined students at 48 other colleges and universities and more than 3,200 K–12 schools that signed up for the program. The UWG staff are Mix It Up veterans; they began celebrating “Mix Day” in 2009, after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s director of outreach, Lecia Brooks, gave a presentation there. Brooks spoke with Deirdre Haywood-Rouse and Doris Kieh, two staffers at the school’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, about Mix It Up. The Center now hosts the program annually. 

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion focuses on three goals for the program: to help students engage in dialogue with someone new and interact with people outside of their normal social circles; to encourage people to be more comfortable in interacting with others; and to promote awareness and understanding between students from different backgrounds. 

Around 30 student volunteers serve as greeters at the dining facilities where Mix It Up is held, encouraging classmates to join in as they come in for lunch. Participating students, faculty, staff and administrators receive “Mix It Up” buttons and choose conversation starter slips from a bowl at their table. 

The topics vary, but students might discuss culture, ethnicity, ability, campus inclusion or their own experiences with diversity at their school. “When you talk about these things, barriers break down,” Haywood-Rouse says. Some of the conversation starters are more casual, such as, “If you could have been born anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?” or “Tell us about your favorite holiday or tradition.” Also included in the bowls are more probing questions, such as, “Why do you think women generally get paid less than men for identical work?” Haywood-Rouse and Kieh say providing students with a choice about conversation topics helps them to feel more comfortable opening up to new friends, which—even as a young adult—can still be a little intimidating. 

UWG is a great example of how Mix It Up can be adapted to make any setting more inclusive. If your school, workplace or program wasn’t able to take part in this year’s National Mix It Up at Lunch Day on October 23, it’s never too late! We hope you’ll mix it up year-round—and for years to come.

Exerpt from  Teaching Tolerance (November 5, 2018) by Jey Ehrenhalt. Ehrenhalt is the school programs coordinator at Teaching Tolerance.

This year, students, faculty, staff and administrators will mix it up at the UCC, Z-6 and East Commons on Tuesday, October 22.. 


UWG Celebrates 50 Years Since Stonewall Riots with Community Pride

Fifty years after the Stonewall Riots in New York City, LGBTQ+ communities are thriving. Join CDI and the Queer Student Alliance as we host programs to engage with current events and look to the future of LGBTQ movements.

Q Chats:

Bring your lunch a nd join a conversation (or two or three!) with your peers that celebrates your identities and builds relationships within your community. Meeting will occur in the CDI Resource Center on the following dates:
Graduate Students: Monday 10/7, 12 noon - 1:30 pm
Women: Tuesday 10/8, 12 noon -1:30 pm
Men: Wednesday 10/9, 12noon -1:30 pm
Trans, Gender Non-conforming, and Nonbinary:
10/10 12 noon-1:30 pm
Queer & Trans People of Color: Thursday 10/10, 2:30-4:00 pm

Safe Zone Intro:

Learn more about LGBTQ+ identities in this three hour workshop. This event will be in Campus Center 104 on Monday October 7, from 2-5 pm. faculty and staff can register online through DevelopWest. Students can register by emailing
Lo Denmon .

Safe Zone to Go:

Take the same intro course over four days by attending each of the 45 minute sessions from 5-5:45 pm Monday through Thursday. These will be in Campus Center 104. Registration is not required but seating is limited!


Writer and activist AC Dumlao will speak with students about intersectionality and its necessity in social justice spaces. Campus Center Ballroom, October 8, 3-4:30 pm.

Call Me They:

Join us as writer, speaker, and advocate AC Dumlao (they/them) discusses the history of non-binary genders in cultures around the world and how “non-binary” fits with(in) the transgender community. This event, open to the public, will take place in the Campus Center Ballroom, October 8 at 6 pm.

National Coming Out Day:

Drop by the TLC Lobby to learn more about out LGBTQ Georgians, including some familiar faces, and add your own name to the board. Friday, October 11 at 12 noon.

Carrollton Pride Festival:

A celebration of Carrollton's LGBTQ community!! Come meet friends and allies, find out about local resources, participate in family-friendly activities, and watch a short film about small town southern LGBTQ organizing. And y'all means ALL, so everyone is welcome! October 11, 4 pm at the AMP in Downtown Carrollton

Outspoken Film Screening

A short documentary about LGBTQ southerners organizing in their town to fight discriminatory legal policies will be followed by a brief discussion of the local implications. The film will take place during the AMP Festival, beginning at 6 pm, with a panel discussion at 6:30 pm.